Pink is the color of flowers and flamingos, bubble gum and cotton candy, and for the month of October, the color of store fronts, billboards, ribbons and bras across Central Florida.
From races and walks to parties and games, this is the month when the community comes together for a single cause of awareness and support for breast cancer. For much of the month Central Florida will be seeing pops of pink to go along with the typical orange and black of the season thanks to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Making Strides, the American Cancer Society and Florida Hospital’s Pink Out! Campaign.
Charlotte Warren is one of a growing minority of people who’s never personally been touched by staggering breast cancer statistics.
It doesn’t run in her family, and she says – knocking on the wood table she sits behind – it hasn’t afflicted anyone close to her in her life. Considering the American Cancer Society (ACS) cites that one in eight women in Florida will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, she acknowledges being a blessed anomaly.
But she says the fight against breast cancer, regardless of your exposure to it, is one fought by all women, for their 15,540 sisters, mothers and friends in Florida alone that will be diagnosed with the disease this year. ACS reports that Florida is second in the nation for the number of new breast cancer diagnoses each year and third in breast cancer-related deaths.
To participate you don’t have to be a survivor, or even a woman. The American Cancer Society estimates about one percent of the population diagnosed with breast cancer this year will be men.
“Hearing all those statistics, I thought, ‘Wow! I can’t believe it’s that high,’” she said. “It made me want to get involved and get the word out even more.”
Warren, an Orlando resident, now serves as the publicity chair for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2012 season. She was nominated for the job though her public relations work with Massey Communications in Orlando, and has been working on getting the word out about the organization’s mission and events ever since.
She sits with an open binder overflowing with pink fliers, fact sheets and photos detailing the Making Strides mission and events hosted leading up to the organization’s 2012 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk of Orlando Metro at Lake Eola Park on Oct. 20. Much of it covers the importance of mammograms and early detection, and it encourages people to “put on your pink bra” and come out for the 3.2-mile fundraising walk.
“It’s been really cool to be a part of something like this, and be part of something that’s literally saving lives,” she said.
And she says she’ll be out there, neighbors in tow, bedazzled pink bras over their shirts, walking around the lake. Because now it’s personal.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Susan G. Komen has become synonymous with the fight against breast cancer and one that echoes across Central Florida particularly loudly this month. And this year Baldwin Park is getting ready to be “pretty in pink” to host to one of the organization’s cornerstone events.
Before Komen Central Florida’s main event Race for the Cure 5k at the University of Central Florida on Oct. 21, the organization is hosting it’s second annual Pretty in Pink fundraising event – co-hosted by the Orlando Sentinel – in Baldwin Park’s Village Center for the first time.
Nicole Phillips, events manager for Komen Central Florida, said the events are all about raising awareness and support within the community.
“We’re very local and sometimes people don’t realize that,” she said. “The money they’re giving is staying right here in the community.”
In the last three years, Phillips said the Orlando Race for the Cure has raised more than $1 million for Susan G. Komen to provide support, services and early detection programs in places across Central Florida.
Pink Out Winter Park
On Sept. 9, more than 2,100 people spent two minutes balanced on one leg in Winter Park’s Central Park to kickoff this year’s Pink Out Winter Park campaign, sponsored by Winter Park Memorial Hospital.
The campaign encourages local businesses to “pink out” their storefronts for the month of October for breast cancer awareness, and residents to do so by purchasing $10 lawn flamingos to place outside their homes. For each flamingo purchased, one is donated to growing flocks that travel public lawns across the city.
Sara Channing with Florida Hospital’s media relations said proceeds from the events and sales benefit the Winter Park Memorial Hospital Mammography Scholarship Fund, which helps provide financial support for women who can’t afford an annual mammogram.