When a handful of Redding healthcare providers started “Think Pink Day” to raise awareness of breast cancer in 1997, they handed out 1,400 goodie bags full of educational material to women in Redding. At the time, it seemed like quite an effort.
This Thursday, for the 14th version of Think Pink Day, volunteers will hand out a staggering 40,000 goodie bags full of educational materials, a calendar and various pink trinkets, as well as 40,000 pink carnations. The giveaways are scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. this Thursday, October 21, at the Redding Post Office on Churn Creek Road and at MD Imaging, 2020 Court Street, Redding.
Plus, for the second year in a row, the Nor-Cal Think Pink committee will transform the Sundial Bridge into a gigantic – and very pink – symbol of hope for breast cancer victims on Thursday evening.
It’s difficult to miss national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink ribbons and balloons are everywhere. Football players are wearing pink chin straps and shoes. Newspaper and magazine nameplates are printed in pink. The Nor-Cal Think Pink group has ridden this rising wave, while also getting bolstered by the ever-better survival rate of breast cancer victims. When Think Pink Day started, the survival rate for early detection patients was about 85%. These days, that survival rate is 97%.
The key is early detection – and that’s the emphasis of Think Pink Day, said Nichole Wilder, president of Nor-Cal Think Pink. In all of its material and on its website, the organization prominently features the three steps for early detection: Monthly breast self-examination by all women at least 20 years old, annual mammograms for women at least 40, and clinical examinations by a health care professional every three years for women in their 20s and 30s, and annually for older women.
Nor-Cal Think Pink Day is an enormous effort. The steering committee meets year round, and about 100 people donate time for six months leading up to the big day, according to Wilder.
“This is all, 100 percent, volunteer effort. Nobody is paid. We don’t have an operating budget. Donations come in every year to sponsor the gifts and the bags,” Wilder said. “I think it’s an amazing way to get out the message of hope.”
That message should be loud and clear during the Sundial Bridge lighting. A crew from Centerline Lighting has been cleaning the structure so that the distinctive Sacramento River bridge looks marvelous. The event is scheduled to being at 7 p.m. on Thursday with light refreshments, and the distribution of goodies for kids and educational materials for adults. After short presentations from several speakers, Centerline will hit the pink lights at about 8 p.m. Organizers invite everyone to bring a camera and later upload their still images or videos to the Nor-Cal Think Pink website. The bridge will remain pink on Friday and Saturday nights.
• Smoking doesn’t cause breast cancer, but it does cause lung cancer (for which the survival rate is not so encouraging), emphysema and heart disease. Mercy Medical Center Redding is offering an eight-session “Quit for Good” class starting at 6 p.m. this evening, October 19. The free, two-hour classes continue every Tuesday and Thursday evening for four weeks. Learn more at the Mercy website.
• Mercy also is sponsoring a free “Healthy is Fabulous” women’s health clinic from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. next Monday, October 25. Four physicians will discuss common health issues for women and answer questions. Learn more and register for the event here.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and is trying to hunt up his pink socks. Paul Shigley may be reached at email@example.com.
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