Having fun at cancer’s expense

Published 10:29 pm Saturday, October 3, 2009

There is simply nothing funny about breast cancer.

According to a report from the American Cancer Society, an estimated 40,170 women will die of breast cancer in 2009, which makes breast cancer the second leading cause of cancer death in U.S. women (lung cancer is number one).

Yet those staggering statistics aren’t stopping people from having a whole lot of fun raising money to beat the disease.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and staff members at Lakeview Medical Center’s Surgery Department wanted to do their part to help the fight against breast cancer.

“Some of our co-workers have been diagnosed, and with us being a surgery department, a lot of our patients are breast cancer patients,” said Gina Richardson, coordinator for the staff’s “Pretty in Pink” effort.

Richardson said a couple of the office’s staff members decided to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, but wanted to find a fun way to raise the money.

“Each department tried to think of things to raise money, “ Richardson said. “I got to thinking, well, what would people want to pay for here? And I thought, what if our department came in one day completely dressed in pink?”

She began throwing the idea around, and realized she needed to up the ante, considering many of the staff members routinely wear pink scrubs anyway.

“Then I thought, I bet people will like to see our two surgeons dressed all in pink,” Richardson said.

From pink bandanas, scrubs and Crocs, the doctors agreed to don their best pink attire.

And sure enough, Richardson put out a jar in the front window of the office with a simple message: “When this jar gets full of money, you’ll be absolutely delighted to see our doctors pretty in pink.”

Since they first put out the jar on Sept. 14, they have raised more than $400.

The department also held a bake sale, and raised an additional $685 for the race.

“Patients have been so excited about it,” Richardson said. “A lot of times when you’re treating as devastating an illness as breast cancer is, people think that as surgeons you have no feeling toward it. There is a lot of feeling here.”

On Tuesday, the doctors will make their pink debut, and Richardson said there is still plenty of time for people to stop by and drop in a few bucks for the cause.

“We’re really, really looking forward to their big debut,” she said.