An idea pitched last fall by sophomore Ashley Suchyta to the school’s administration, is drawing attention far beyond the school’s walls.

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Sophomore Ashley Suchyta, third from right.

In September, Ashley approached administration members with the idea of adding another colored polo to the approved uniform shirts: pink, as in the international color for breast cancer awareness.

“I wanted Saint Viator to be more involved in the breast cancer movement,” Ashley said.

She made such a compelling case that members of the administration approved the new uniform color in four days and sent pre-order forms to homeroom teachers in order for students to begin wearing them in October.

“I was just praying they would approve it,” Ashley added.

In the end, she sold 357 shirts, to more than one third of the school, and raised more than $1,000.

Ashley decided to donate the funds to Gilda’s Club Chicago, which is an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community and serves cancer patients and survivors in the wider Chicago area.

That’s where the story picks up again. Earlier this month, officials with Gilda’s Club wrote to Ashley inviting her and her mother to attend their gala fundraising dinner on June 18 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.

“We were impressed by her project and thought her story was truly inspiring,” said Maggie Bahler, spokeswoman for Gilda’s Club in Chicago, “and we thought Ashley should be recognized for her efforts.”

Ashley will be in attendance at the club’s so-called, Agents of Hope dinner, which features testimonials by Gilda’s Club members, describing their experiences with some of the club’s 350 free programs each month, as well as the city’s major business, sports and philanthropic leaders.

Officials expect 400 people to be in attendance.

“We view the entire evening as a place of hope,” Bahler added, “with members giving each other hope, and certainly our donors providing hope with their donations.”

Ashley says she chose Gilda’s Club because of its wider mission of serving all cancer patients.

In its stated mission, Gilda’s Club Chicago “supports everyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends, as well as those who have lost someone to cancer.”