Louisvillian's cancer battle inspired Pink Out, survivors - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Louisvillian's cancer battle inspired Pink Out, survivors

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Patricia "Tricia" Amburgey Patricia "Tricia" Amburgey
The Pink Out on Oaks Day has become a tradition. The Pink Out on Oaks Day has become a tradition.
John Asher John Asher

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Wearing pink on Oaks Day at Churchill Downs has become a tradition.

The woman who was the inspiration for the Pink Out the day before the Kentucky Derby, Patricia "Tricia" Amburgey, 42, passed away on Saturday. Without knowing her face or name Patricia inspired countless survivors as the Pink Out is now known around the nation and the world.

It's impossible to know just how many lives the Pink Out has touched, or how much money and  awareness the tradition has raised for cancer research.

Amburgey, who was employed for 22 years at Churchill Down's as the Vice President of Ticketing, was the brains behind the revolution of Derby ticket sales on the Internet.  "She was playing a major role in shaping the future of this great institution," said John Asher, Churchill Downs Vice President of Racing Communications.

As impressive as that is, her business savvy at Churchill paled in comparison to her inspirational role. Asher said in her five year battle with stage 3 breast cancer, the mother of three was similar to a great race horse: Resilient, relentless and never showing her pain. 

"Along with being one of the best people I've ever known, she may have been one of the bravest people I've ever known," said Asher.

Every Friday, Amburgey's co-workers wore pink to encourage her fighting spirit. WAVE 3 News was lucky enough to talk with her in 2009 after she learned how her battle would be shared with race fans everywhere.

During the interview she said, "I came back from surgery and my co-worker called me in the office and she was like, don't cry and I'm like, have I ever cried in the office? What do you mean don't cry?"  The support was clear in all the pink hats, pink suits and even pink kilts. She was the woman behind the idea to join the Susan G. Komen and Horses and Hope organizations to raise awareness and funding through the Pink Out and the Survivors Parade.

Before her death, she returned to the track with her husband Don for a final goodbye.

Survivors like Dana Roberson who have walked in the Survivor Parade said they are forever grateful for the day Amburgey inspired. Roberson said, "It's overwhelming at times to think how one person could make such a change for so many other people. "

Amburgey was a graduate of Mercy Academy and Bellarmine University.

In her final days, she had one request for her funeral -- for everyone who attended to wear pink.

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