Organizers preview Paint the Town Pink

MANISTEE – The organizers of Paint the Town Pink are gearing up for the fifth year of what has turned into a community rally to promote breast cancer awareness and to raise funds for state-of-the-art medical equipment for the radiology department of West Shore Medical Center.

“It’s been an awesome feeling,” said organizer Nancy Day. “People have invited us into their lives and shared with us a lot of personal testimonies from themselves and their family members who have gone through some form of cancer, but, more specifically, breast cancer…. It’s really an event that pulls the community together.”

Paint the Town Pink has more than doubled in participation since the beginning, with approximately 800 people showing up last year.Twenty-three businesses have already committed to host “pit stops” along the walk, which follows a route approximately a mile long down River Street. Owners of businesses along the street decorate their storefronts with pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. Some hold specials the day of the walk or for the entire month of October, which is breast cancer awareness month. Others sell pink items.

Breast cancer survivors, all dressed in pink, formed a human ribbon during last year’s Paint the Town Pink ceremony in downtown Manistee. (Courtesy photo)

Paint the Town Pink is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18. Participants in the walk will gather at 4 p.m. at the fountain at the west end of River Street, with the ceremony starting at 5 p.m. Organizers have made an effort to appeal to families, and Paint the Town Pink will feature a balloon artist, face painting and a magic show.

Paint the Town Pink tie-dye T-shirts are available for purchase in the West Shore Medical Center Radiology Department and at Sports Ink, the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, Goody’s, Northern Spirits, Surroundings, the Manistee Senior Center, Kellie’s Hallmark, and Wahr Hardware.

One hundred percent of the funds raised by Paint the Town Pink goes to West Shore Medical Center. In its first year, the event raised money to help purchase a digital mammography machine for West Shore Medical Center, a machine that was the first of its kind to be owned by a hospital in northwest Michigan.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have in a small community,” Julie Blaney, communications coordinator for West Shore Medical Center, pointed out. “West Shore prides itself on providing world-class care in a home-town hospital.”

This year, proceeds from Paint the Town Pink will benefit West Shore Medical Center’s PET scan technology, advanced imaging equipment that is used in the detection and treatment of all cancers. Patients weakened by cancer will no longer have to travel long distances to get certain specialized treatment.

“They [patients] are already going through the treatment and everything, and it’s at a time when they’re already weakened by it [cancer], and they have to reserve their strength for battling it rather than traveling,” said Day.

Education and awareness are keys to Paint the Town Pink. Through funding from the event, the radiology department of West Shore Medical Center has made educational seminars on breast cancer awareness available to the community at large. Organizers say that, above all, they want to encourage women to do regular self breast exams as well as to consult their physicians about their need for mammograms.

“We have always said, doing this event, if we get one lady in to get her mammogram, and she happened to have breast cancer, this whole event would be worth it,” said Julie Raymond, another Paint the Town Pink organizer.

Virtually everyone has been touched by breast cancer, Nancy Day pointed out. “You could get a group of people together in a room and ask them to light a candle for anyone in their family who has been touched by breast cancer, and then extend it to friends and coworkers, and, within minutes, that room would be lit,” she said.

Leave a Reply