By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
Paint the Town Pink, the week-long community-wide campaign to increase breast cancer awareness, was started four years ago not to raise money, but to simply raise awareness, said Jill Williams, Baptist Health spokesperson.
But, “we had so many people asking us how they could give,” she said.
Local charities that “shared the same mission and vision” as Paint the Town Pink became beneficiaries of the campaign, which generated more than $8,000 last year, she said. “I love seeing how our community can all rally behind a cause. If one life is saved through early detection, that is what the campaign is all about.”
Paint the Town Pink is intended to raise awareness to women as they shop, dine and visit their daily and weekly businesses in the county.
Last year, more than 50 businesses became Pink Sponsors and Pink Partners by donating to local charities and by handing out educational information in their businesses.
The campaign’s kick-off event is Friday with an 11 a.m. luncheon at the EKU Center for the Arts Black Box Theater.
The luncheon gives community leaders and breast cancer survivors an opportunity to discuss an issue “that is very important to this community,” Williams said.
“The breast cancer survivors are the faces of this campaign,” she said. “They are living testimony for why awareness and early detection are so important.”
The catered hot lunch will include tenderloin tips, whipped potato crust, green beans and assorted bakery desserts for a suggested $10 donation. To make reservations, call 625-3156.
Paint the Town Pink T-shirts and hoodies are on sale at Merle Norman Cosmetics and Soft Shoe. They also will be available at the Eastern Kentucky University Farmer’s Market today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Keen Johnson Courtyard next to the Daniel Boone statue.
Who ‘Pink’ helps
One beneficiary of the campaign is the Madison County Breast Cancer Support Group, which hosts the annual Women’s Wellness Fun Day at EKU, a free conference that focuses on women’s health issues and is strictly for women.
This year’s Fun Day is Oct. 27. Reservations must be made by Oct. 19 by calling the Madison County Health Department at 626-4225.
Last year, more than 270 women attended the event, said Arlayne Francis, one of the group’s founders and a three-time cancer survivor.
Since its inception in 1990, the group of breast cancer survivors has visited more than 600 women in Madison County with “Recovery Baskets” for post-surgery/treatment breast cancer patients.
“If you are having any kind of treatment, there is somebody in this group that has been through the same. That’s why we have our meetings — to let other people know that they are not alone in this,” Francis said.
The group meets on the third Monday of every month with a potluck dinner. For details about the time and location for the meetings call Arlayne Francis at 623-4601 or Nola Newman at 200-5235.
Paint the Town Pink also supports the Brighter Days Ahead Foundation, an organization to “help make the journey for cancer patients a little easier,” according to the Baptist Health website.
This year, Brighter Days will supply “Little Pink Books” for the entire community to serve as a breast cancer resource guide, Williams said.
The foundation was started in honor of Anne Richardson, who died of lung cancer in 2009 and had been a patient of Baptist Health and the Richmond Oncology Center for chemotherapy and radiation.
A long-term goal of the foundation is to fund the Anne Richardson Cancer Wing at Baptist Health. For details about the foundation’s goals, visit baptisthealthrichmond.com and search “brighter days.”
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, ext. 6696.