FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s a long weekend of sports, fun, competition, and pink. Lots of pink. But, it’s all making a difference in the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer.

This year’s Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Classic raised more then $1.5 million. That brings the total to $40.1 million over the last three decades to fund breast cancer research.

“It’s amazing to come to events like this and see how many people are supporting what we do every day,” Dr. Tarah Ballinger, the Breast Oncologist for the Indiana University Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, said at the Vera Bradley Classic’s reception on Sunday night.

This year’s Classic started with pickleball on Friday and Saturday at Wildwood Racquet Club, a celebration reception Sunday night, and golf competitions at Fort Wayne County Club on Monday.

Since 2004, money raised by the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer has contributed to more than 1,300 discoveries that have been published by foundation-funded researchers in peer-reviewed journals.

“I feel like I’m part of an amazing fight and we’re blessed to have people here who really care and are passionate about fighting a really tough disease,” Dr. Bryan Schneider, the Vera Bradley Oncology Chair, said.

Schneider said the research funded by the Vera Bradley Foundation focuses on an aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer. They’re working on targeted therapies and focusing on survivorship and quality of life.

“Our goals are to have women live longer and live better and improve cure rates,” Schneider said.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the Vera Bradley Foundation. But, the Foundation is working to make the disease a thing of the past.

In 2022, the Foundation pledged $12.5 million to bring its total donation commitment to $50 million. After this year’s Classic, there’s a little less then $9 million left to raise.