Even the best grapefruit are pink this time of year.
All over Flagler County, public and private sectors are mobilizing in the annual show of solidarity with Breast Cancer Awareness month, which has been turning America pink with increasing fervor over the years. The NFL’s goal posts are pink. Players’ cleats are pink. NASCAR vehicles go pink. Scotch tape dispensers go pink. Firefighters, like the ranks of the Flagler Beach Fire Department, are going pink. So are millions of lapels, with pink pins, pink ribbons, pink brooches.
Much of the movement is the work of the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, which at its peak in 2010 powered a $450 million-a-year fundraising machine to raise awareness and fund research about a disease that kills 40,000 women a year in the United States, and 450 men. The foundation’s decision in 2012 to pull its funding from Planned Parenthood severely damaged its reputation and loss of contributions. The backlash was so grave that Komen reversed its decision in four days.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month locally is being commemorated in all sorts of ways.
Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler hosted breakfasts for survivors on the first day of the month, as well as flag raising ceremonies, with some 250 participants watching the pink flag rise on hospital campuses, to fly the rest of the month. It’s a reminder of the importance of early detection and the life-saving benefits of annual mammograms.
At Florida Hospital Flagler in Palm Coast, breast cancer survivors enjoyed a special breakfast with physician guests Dr. Alvaro Alvarez, radiation oncologist, Dr. Philip Ndum, hematologist/oncologist, and Dr. Miren Schinco, intensivist and general surgeon. The flag-raising took place immediately afterward. (Incidentally, the hospital announced this month that Florida Hospital Flagler announced that local hematologist/oncologist Padmaja Sai, MD, will serve as the hospital’s medical director for the Cancer Center.)
The event was part of Florida Hospital’s Pink Army campaign, launched in 2010 to enlist individuals in the push for awareness. In its first year alone, the Pink Army enlisted more than 6,000 “soldiers” to battle breast cancer in Volusia and Flagler counties. Now, armed with more than 22,000 soldiers, the Pink Army movement has swept across the state, encouraging Central Floridians to join the cause.
The hospital and local governments are teaming up for the 3rd annual Pink Army 5K on Sunday morning, Oct. 13, in Palm Coast, in which participants of all ages can either run or walk the course in an event that’s part of Palm Coast’s Running Series.
The event starts at 7:45 a.m. at Florida Hospital Flagler, 60 Memorial Medical Parkway. The course takes participants to Central Park in Town Center, then back to the hospital. The Kids Fun Run begins at 8:45 a.m. The awards ceremony will immediately follow the race.
Register at www.palmcoastgov.com/pinkarmy5K by Tuesday, Oct. 8, for a reduced rate of $25. To register the day of the race, the entry fee is $30, and registration begins at 6:30 a.m. Veterans with military identification can participate for free. Online registration is available to military veterans, as well. To promote health and fight obesity in children, the 5K race fees are discounted by both Florida Hospital Flagler and the City of Palm Coast: Teens 13 to 19 pay only $10, and children 12 and under pay only $5. Children 6 and under can participate in a Fun Run for free.
All proceeds benefit the Florida Hospital Flagler breast cancer fund, which provides screening mammograms, diagnostic studies and education to local qualified individuals who are uninsured and seeking assistance.
Florida Hospital Pink Army is on active duty in Flagler, Hardee, Highlands, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia. This year’s co-chairs for the army in Flagler are Flagler County Economic Development Director Helga van Eckert and local business owner Lea Stokes. To learn more, visit www.JoinThePinkArmy.com. (For more information, contact Event Coordinator Casey Ryan at Palm Coast Parks and Recreation at 386-986-2323.)
The Flagler County Commission, meanwhile, will go pink just before its Oct. 7 meeting, at 9 a.m. at the Government Services Building in Bunnell.
A platoon of the Pink Army will meet at the flag pole in front of the Government Services Building at 8:30 a.m. for a short ceremony to raise a pink flag. County employees will also be wearing pink. The commission will follow the flag-raising with a proclamation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Flagler County school district is offering an uniform amnesty for students who participate in the run/walk. Students can bring their race number to school and will not be required to be in uniform attire for that school day.