Bunches of bright pink pinwheels glinting in the sun were “planted” last Thursday on South Jefferson Street, alongside the Carilion Clinic Breast Care Center, making the spot hard to miss for those passing by. The Center decided to “go pink” this year to raise awareness of breast cancer and honor survivors. Actually, there were exactly 300 pink pinwheels, representing the 300 survivors who are diagnosed with breast cancer at Carilion Clinic facilities each year.
The mood was lighthearted amongst attendees, most of whom sported pink pins or bracelets, as they hope this effort will cause more women to include cancer screening / mammography in their busy schedules.
Breast cancer survivor Angie Lewis was there to join in the effort to raise awareness, along with her “Dream Team” of doctors who treated her. Lewis said that “the most important thing when all this ‘awareness’ came out is that [she advises] women not to be afraid to go get checked because they fear what might happen.”
Lewis is younger than the recommended age of 40 to begin screening, but she knew “something was not right” and decided to get a mammogram. Her treatment lasted “six months going start to finish, without chemo or radiation” which were not recommended for her. She wants women to know that each situation is different, and no one should shy away from screening as early detection is so important.
It turns out there is not a standard pink paint that is used for breast cancer awareness campaigns, so the Carilion design group had to figure out the closest match to the pink ribbon that is now so recognizable. Carilion Engineer, Kelly Howard laughed as he said, “there are so many shades of pink.
The Carilion Clinic Breast Care Center could almost take their sign down now as the new pink accents make it pretty clear what the facility does. The railings are pink, the parking lot and adjacent planter are pink … even the lighting is pink. According to Howard, who was finishing up with the painting project, the plan is for the “pink” to remain.
It will serve as a perpetual pink reminder for women to make their appointment for each year.