The towns of Rumson, Fair Haven, Red Bank, Little Silver, and many more among the Monmouth County area came together the week of the May 6 – May 12 to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. To promote consciousness towards this cause, the organization “Paint the Town Pink” does exactly what it says; it inspires locals in many towns to cover everything in the color of breast cancer’s national awareness color, pink! Their goal is “to educate local women about a very significant fact, that early detection is a woman’s best defense against breast cancer.”
This week-long event is held every year in mid- May, which is appropriately breast cancer awareness month. The concept began in the winter of 2006, when it came to someone’s attention that despite all the media coverage breast cancer received, the number of women who got annual mammograms was extremely low. Volunteers from Riverview Medical Center recognized this statistic and decided it was necessary to “raise awareness about the importance of early detection, annual screenings, prevention and treatment.” The dedicated team adopted the slogan: “early detection is a woman’s best defense against breast cancer.” They needed a clever yet effective way to provide locals with their new motto for saving lives, so they figured: why not put it in everyday life? The concept they came up with was to “integrate the messaging into the daily lives of women as they shopped and dined in Red Bank.”
To do this, they simply coated the entire town of Red Bank in bright fuchsia ribbons and paint. In the early May of 2007 became known as the first ever “Pink Bank” appearance. However the process was not as simple as it sounds and takes the efforts of many. Local businesses and organizations take part, as well as high schools. Local families also got involved, and even went as far as to pain their own homes pink!
Every year since 2007, Paint the Town Pink week has grown more and more. Now, many new towns have popped up all over Monmouth county, including Atlantic Pinklands (Atlantic Highlands), Little Pink (Little Silver), Pink Beach (Monmouth Beach), Pink Haven (Fair Haven), Pinkdel (Homdel), Pinkbury (Shrewsbury), and Pinkson (Rumson). And now, many other schools and organizations have caught onto the idea and have raised money for Breast Cancer. Some 2012 events included: Party for the Pink, Pink Hat Tea, Paint Everything Pink (Community Day), A Night with Bill Rancic, 5th Annual Girl’s Night Out, and the Zumbathon.
The first known use of a pink ribbon to show awareness towards this matter was in the fall of 1991. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, a non profit organization founded in 1982, handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City annual race for breast cancer survivors. This light pink was quickly adopted as the national color for breast cancer, as it is feminine, yet portrays a “fear of breast cancer, hope for the future, and the charitable goodness of people and businesses who publicly support the breast cancer movement.” Also, a pink and blue ribbon is sometimes used to symbolize breast cancer in men, which is relatively rare.
About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. It may be even more frightening to know that only about 67% of women say that they have had a mammogram in the last two years. But there are plenty of ways to get involved, wheather you have been directly affected by it or not! Visit http://www.paintthetownpink.com/ to see if your town is involved in there efforts, or look into other fundraisers with organizations such as Susan G. Komen or The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Or, start your own charity performance in your neighborhood!