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Pink Armies Invade Flagler In Varieties Of Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns

| October 17, 2011

Members of Flagler County's Fire Rescue department, who've donned pink shirts for the month in solidarity with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From left, Dennis Kline, Cap.t James Shaw, Jared Parkey, Justin McDonald, Jesse Sintscha and Lt. Brian Gilbert.

A few facts first: by the time you finish reading this article–assuming it takes you four minutes to read–two more people will have been diagnosed with breast cancer. In the quarter hour it might take you to drink a soda or a cup of coffee, another life will have been lost to the disease, one of the 40,000 lost this year, all but 400 of them women. Think about that number for a moment: As many people die of breast cancer in 17 months (57,000) as did in the entire 15-year span of the Vietnam War. And will again the next 17 months. The disease strikes one in eight women, and is the leading cause of death for women 40 to 55.

On the more encouraging side, breast cancer awareness has become a marketing phenomenon as all-consuming as the pink that adorns National Football League players, goal posts, turfs and half-time shows–or car tires, boots, buses, ties, eye-wear, or anything else the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and others have thought up to pink up. Komen is the foundation behind the marketing campaign. It raised $420 million last year alone, spending $141 million on public health education and awareness campaigns, $75 million to finance medical research and $67 million to pay for breast cancer screening and treatment, according to The Times.

Flagler County is no exception to the pinking.

Flagler County Fire Rescue’s rank-and-file union members are all wearing pink uniforms this month. Lenny Wheeler, a firefighter, bought the shirts so that every firefighter would have one free, and has been selling extras, and most have bought them (at $10 per). The idea was thought up up Wheeler and firefighters Dennis Kline and Brian Gilbert. “we were one of the few union departments that hasn’t done it, so we wanted to step up and do it this year,” Gilbert said. “We hope to make it an annual thing.”

The response has been all positive, with one exception. “I’ve heard only one negative thing, and it was from an over-masculine male,” Gilbert said. Otherwise, it’s been a matter of community pride, and the sort of appreciation County Commissioner Barbara Revels mentioned this evening, during her reading of the proclamation of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month at a commission meeting. She was particularly appreciative of men who have joined the effort by whatever means at their disposal.

The county fire department, of course, gave permission for the pink shirts, likely not wanting to get embroiled in the sort of controversy Palm Coast did last year when it initially resisted a utility employee’s wearing of pink boots. The backlash was severe enough that the city relented–and this year joined Florida Hospital Flagler’s Pink Army campaign by sponsoring a special event.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, Florida Hospital Flagler and Palm Coast are hosting the Pink Army 5K event, created by the hospital to raise awareness for the continuous battle against breast cancer. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and takes runners ages 10 to 80 on a route through Palm Coast’s Central Park at Town Center, around the hospital and back. Prizes will be awarded to male and female winners in 15 age categories. Entry fees include an event shirt, a goody bag and a delicious dinner at Woody’s Bar-B-Q.

The fees and registration deadlines:

  • $30 Mail In closes October 18th.
  • $30 Advance Registration (In-Person or Online) closes October 24.
  • $35 In Person or Online, closes Oct. 27 at noon.
  • $35 on the day of the race, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. in Central Park.

Fees will help to benefit Flagler County women with screening mammograms, diagnostics studies and education for qualified individuals who are uninsured and seeking assistance.

Runners can register online, in person at the Community Center (305 Palm Coast Pkwy NE) or City Offices (160 Cypress Point Pkwy), through mail or at the race at 4 p.m. in Central Park. Also, see below for a downloadable copy of the registration form. For additional details, call Lisa Gardner at 386/986-2341.

Florida Hospital Flagler has been heavily involved in breast cancer awareness. Earlier this month, the community group known as Mothers Of Preschoolers (MOPS) hosted Dr. Padmaja Sai, a medical oncologist at Florida Hospital Flagler medical oncologist, at First Baptist Church of Palm Coast, where Sai spoke about breast cancer while mothers worked on special crafts: port pillows specifically decorated and designed for breast cancer patients. The tiny cushions are tied to vehicle seatbelts in order to alleviate any discomfort patients may feel from the seatbelt resting on an implanted port.

“Ports are devices I place in the left chest wall that Dr. Sai uses to deliver chemo for cancer patients,” Darren Peterson, General Surgeon at Florida Hospital Flagler, said.

Peterson’s wife, Candy, is a member of MOPS and delivered 30 of the donated handmade pillows to Florida Hospital Flagler’s Judith C. Macko Cancer Resource Library last week. The pillows will be given to any patients who need it at the Resource Library, located inside the hospital, on the second floor at suite 2816.

Schools, too, have been in on the campaign.

The Future Business Leaders of America club at Flagler Palm Coast High School started an awareness campaign on Oct. 7, with contributions going to the Florida Hospital Flagler Foundation. The club sold Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, bracelets and Tie Dyed Tee Shirts during the FPC’s homecoming game on Oct. 7. Last week, additional events were planned planned to raise awareness and funds. (If you would like to help the FBLA students support breast cancer awareness, please e-mail

Florida Hospital Flagler’s 5K Run for Breast Cancer Awareness Registration

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9 Responses for “Pink Armies Invade Flagler In Varieties Of Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns”

  1. Heather Beaven says:

    Flagler County Fire Fighters ROCK~~

  2. Felipe says:

    That is a really nice story. It is good to see support for this every year. Nice job guys. On a quick side note, how come the tall guy in the back isn’t smiling?

  3. Joe A says:

    Is Palm Coast, Bunnell and Flagler Beach doing this as well?

  4. chase rogers says:

    FLagler beach fire is , palm coast and bunnell is not

  5. Flagler Citizen says:

    I know that the Flagler Beach firefighters are; can’t speak for Palm Coast and/or Bunnell.

  6. Rob says:

    Flagler Beach Fire Department is wearing reast cancer awareness (pink) shirts this month. Members of the department (career and volunteer) bought their own shirts..

  7. Bigfoot says:

    Not being negative but we have had MONEY donated over many years and never seem to see or hear of any results.

  8. B. Gilbert says:

    @ Bigfoot I believe that you have a completely valid point. I will try to get with with results to the funds we raise from the sales of the pink t-shirts. I can only speak for Local 4337 however.

    Flagler Beach Fire Department IS wearing pink shirts, both career and volunteer. I can not say which organization they are donating money to.

    @ Felipe not sure why I didn’t smile! I can assure you that I am happier then anyone to wear these pink shirts in support of Breast Cancer awarness!

  9. Janice Grocki says:

    How about a tee shirt for Lenny Grocki? He would wear it proudly!!

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