You've probably seen the pictures on Facebook by now. A sea of women (and one proud guy) dressed to the nines in pink jackets and feather boas. The team, or as we call them, 'Warriors in Pink', danced and chanted for the crowds gathered for the Grand Rapids Santa Claus Parade last Saturday. The onlookers loved it, saying it was their *favorite* part of the parade, next to Mr. Claus himself. Our dancers fed off their support and their energy and gave it their all.
The Pink Cart Blog
It's November now and all the hype around October and it being breast cancer awareness month has dissipated. The Pink cart team was super busy all month with contests and give aways and blogging and general traffic on the Facebook page and our website. Now it's quiet and it feels like everyone has packed up and gone home. The traffic on our Facebook page has dramatically dropped off and while that is just fine, it tells us something.
This weekend we celebrated my Father's 90th birthday. He is a good man who is still extremely active and independent - at 90 he lives alone, works, plays golf, travels and dates women younger than me (which will have to be the subject of a later blog :)) There was a 13 year age difference between my Mom and Dad and so when Mom died so young from breast cancer it really rocked him to his very core. He never expected to get left. You know that feeling...being left behind. It's debilitating.
Pink Cart Connection: Supportive Survivor
Location: Washington, USA
At age 41, with no significant family history, I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Cinco de Mayo 2009. After work that day (I am a nurse) I went to my doctor because of a lump that puckered my skin. I knew what it meant, I just needed confirmation. Like all others affected by cancer, this day changed my life irrevocably. Though given the choice to change circumstances, I wouldn't.
When it comes to PINK, you really don't have to look far. Ribbons, flags, shirts, tattoos, office supplies, posters, stickers, pins. If you're looking for something you can buy or wear to show your support for the fight against breast cancer, you can likely find it within a mile from your home or work. In October, it's usually as simple as looking at the end cap when you're in the check out lane.
Pink Cart Connection: Invasive Breast Cancer Survivor
Location: Ontario, Canada
I was looking forward to the start of a new year, 2011 promised to be filled with happiness and love. However, this would soon be shattered by what I was about to find.
Pink Cart Connection: Fierce Survivor
Location: North Carolina, USA
In 1988 when I was 32 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. I did my 6 months of Chemo and followed all the rules laid out by my Doctor. 4 years later I had a recurrence.
We posted a link to a video for an all-woman owned and operated trash hauling company earlier this month as they are in the final selection stages for their own reality tv show. The company is called DirtyGirl Disposal and is run by a remarkable woman by the name of Katherine Fairbanks. When the link came into the office last week I passed it around to my co-workers to gauge their reaction because it's a little rough around the edges and I wanted to be sure that nobody would be offended by the language.
Pink Cart Connection: Standing by her mother Vicky who is battling Breast Cancer
Location: Indiana, USA
I have never shared my whole story with anyone before. Perhaps I find it hard to talk about or perhaps I am just scared to death. Not to share of course, but because of the unknown future it holds. But if one person reads it, benefits from it and takes the next step of getting the dreaded mammogram then it will all be worth it. If it saves one life that would be priceless.
Last week, The Pink Cart hit a major milestone. Three local haulers, who normally compete with each other for customers, banded together to bring Pink Carts to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The haulers, Dick's Sanitation, Troje's Trash & Recycling and Walter's Recycling & Refuse, all had their own story to tell about cancer.
I have been blogging about breast cancer and its affect on my life for the last couple of years and while it has been therapeutic the fact is that there are other really pressing things on my mind...such as... hair. Not every woman thinks about breast cancer but we ALL think about our hair. I confess that I hate my hair. I hate the way it consumes time every single morning, falls into my face and makes me scratch and that people feel free to make comments about it whether or not it’s “lookin good” at any particular moment.
This week we'll enter into September and face the sad truth that Summer is winding down and Fall is just around the corner. As the leaves begin to change, we in the PINK community also start to shift our focus to the pinnacle event for breast cancer awareness and support - October. Every October breast cancer support groups, charities and advocacy organizations flock to the streets, websites, blogs, social media channels, TV, and add their message to the caucus of PINK voices heard throughout the month.
Breast Cancer isn't funny. It's scary. It can be overwhelming and intimidating. It's also something that 1 in 8 women will experience in her lifetime. It becomes a part of these women's lives, becomes a part of their families' lives. And most of the time, it's certainly not the only thing they've got going on! They all have to keep going, keep moving, keep working, keep paying their bills. And, hopefully, they keep laughing as much as they can.
In our Pink Cart journey, we've long been hoping for a Pink City. Can you imagine? Pink Carts at every home, at every curb, on every street, on every block, in an entire city! Can you imagine the level of awareness those residents would have about the risk factors of breast cancer, about the importance of early detection in saving lives?
Line up, Soldiers - You gotta fight for your right to roll Pink Carts to the curb!
Woo hoo! There are now 30,000 Pink Carts at curbs across the U.S. raising awareness and $150,000 in funds for the fight against breast cancer. We have worked long and hard to get here and want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone in our PINK Community for their passion and commitment to this important cause. We could nothave done this without you!
I have been thinking about how 'hurried' life seems lately. I was at the store yesterday buying a birthday card for my sister and noticed there was a whole section for 'birthdays for working Mom's". Really? Does this need to be spelled out as if every Mother on the planet isn't working in some capacity or another? We don't need our own shelf space. Simply birthday cards for 'Mothers' will do, thank you.
PINK is too girly, too cutesie, too feminine. Believe us, after a year of working on the Pink Cart program, we've heard it all. Teenage boys, husbands, fathers, and yes, women, too, all have something to say about Pink Carts. Too bold, too brazen, too bright. And that's ok with us, because that's exactly why we make them PINK!
Summer is in full swing - flowers are blooming, beaches are filling up and PINK is popping up everywhere. From garden gloves to jewelry to trash carts, people are displaying their passion for pink and their own breast cancer advocacy. How is PINKpopping up in your neighborhood?
On Monday I had the pleasure of playing golf in the American Cancer Society's West Michigan Golf Classic event here in Grand Rapids. It was a well run event and lots of fun - all focused around the goal of raising $80,000 for ACS. It was a beautiful day and I had the honor of playing with a group of men that I work with at Cascade Cart Solutions. I was very nervous at first as I got partnered with Scott who is undoubtedly the best golfer in our company which is never a good thing because I am a complete hacker with absolutely NO TALENT but fortunately he was in a gracious mood.
Pink Cart Connection: Lost her mother and grandmother
My mom's story is not a success with life, but a success with the legacy that she left behind. Mom grew up in a small town, learning the values of family, hard work, and dedication. She was one of two girls. At an early age, she lost her mom to breast cancer and later in life, lost her sister to the disease. I will never forget the day in 1991 when Mom was first diagnosed. Ovarian cancer. She battled and won this round after a hysterectomy and treatment. Then in 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a double mastectomy and more treatment, she conquered this round.
"24 is no big deal...its sorta like an in-between number that is a stepping stone to 25...now THAT is a number...25 is cool."
My strength and courage, came from my Mom.
I’ll never forget that fateful day.
When my sister, Mom and me heard the doctor said, we have bad news, the tests are in.
I suddenly lost my happy grin. My beautiful Mom had breast cancer.
A year ago I blogged on Mothers Day weekend while my family was driving in from Toronto to be a part of our daughter's college graduation. We had a magical weekend together and since then our son has also graduated from college and now one lives in Romania and the other in Canada. I guess we are now the preverbial empty nesters which all my friends and family warned me would be awful but I have to be honest...I kinda like it.
It's the first day of May and it finally feels like spring here in The Pink Cart's hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.The sun is out, grass is growing, trees are budding and all the neighbors are out tending to their gardens. People are planting their seeds and making plans for the beautiful flowers, herbs, vegetables and shrubs that will come to life later in the Summer.
My story started in 1996 when I was 34 years old. My mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I asked my doctor to please order mammograms for me since my mother had ductal carcinoma in situ. Every year I had a mammogram whether I had to pay for it or not. In January 2004 when I had just turned 40 and bought my first house 90 miles away from my doctor, I went for one last mammogram in my hometown. Most years I had to go back for repeat mammograms due to my dense breast tissue so this year I jokingly said to the tech to make sure she got a good picture because it would be an hour and a half to drive each way for a repeat. Well as with previous years I got the letter saying I needed a repeat, GROAN, so I took time off from work went to have it done. They looked at results and sent me over to the local hospital for an ultrasound. I was thinking at this time "Oooh, this is not good". I went for an ultrasound and the tech left me on the table to get the radiologist. The frown on her face told the story.
Two weeks ago I wrote a blog about the frustration I am sensing from our friends on Facebook who are trying to figure out how they can get Pink Carts on their curb. Some people have haulers who are non-responsive or uninterested in doing something new. Some people can't order a Pink Cart online because the shipping is too expensive, despite our efforts to bring the price down. Others want to start petitions and have campaigned to their City Councils but haven't been able to show enough support from their neighbors and community members to bring Pink Carts to their curbs.