PIKETON, Ohio – Last fall, hundreds of employees at Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth reached out to raise awareness and dollars for breast cancer research during “Pink Out Day.” Donations, raffles, and bake sales soon grew into “Fear the Beard” and “Paint it Pink” challenges. In addition to the $2,913.70 raised by employees, Fluor-BWXT provided $500 in matching funds. In January, plant employees delivered donations to three local cancer treatment centers to assist patients with medical expenses.
Fluor-BWXT employees presented a check for $1,137.90 to the Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Cancer Center (Portsmouth). The funds donated will help patients pay for co-pays, medication, prosthesis, genetic testing and even transportation to radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
Wendi Waugh, administrative director of SOMC Cancer Services and Community Health & Wellness, said the efforts are not just about the contributions.
“I am always honored to work with Fluor-BWXT but this year was very special,” Wendi Waugh said.
“Fluor-BWXT representatives shared some creative stories and pictures with me. The donation was more than the contribution to the fund. The activities allowed the employees to remember those in the fight, team build, and support each other. This is the essence of the Paint It Pink campaign.”
Indeed, for many, Pink Out Day at Portsmouth is not just a fundraiser but a day of remembrance, and a potential avenue to a cure. Administrative Assistant Mary Ellen Rooney said cancer has touched her family more than once.
“My first experience with breast cancer was in 1998. At the age of 64, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and was faced with a decision,” Rooney said. “Through the help of SOMC’s Breast Cancer Educational Program, my sister and I assisted mom in learning about her cancer and the options. She had to make a choice, either to have the lump removed and proceed with radiation/chemotherapy or have the breast removed. Mom decided to have a mastectomy (the removal of the entire breast) after having just lost her husband (my dad) six months earlier to prostate cancer. It was a big factor in her decision.”
Rooney said her mother is now an 18-year cancer survivor and an inspiration to all women.
“If you have cancer in your family history, schedule that mammogram—early detection is the key and it saves lives,” Rooney said.
During Pink Out Day, employees were challenged to paint their beards/hair pink. For each person who met the “Fear the Beard” challenge, donations were made by employees to the cause. Project Support Technician Jennifer Kouns served as both artist and bake sale coordinator.
“I am hoping my efforts were able to help someone gain treatment, or get others involved in supporting the breast cancer awareness funds and movements,” Kouns said. “Fear the Beard will be back, and I cannot wait to help and be a part of it!”
In addition to bake sales and wearing pink hair, volunteers in multiple locations collected donations and distributed breast cancer awareness pins and bracelets.
With the possibility of one in eight women and even one in 1,000 men to be diagnosed in the U.S. at some point in their lives, fundraisers like this can be crucial to turning the tide of cancer patients into cancer survivors. Words can hardly express the gratitude of the patients and families who will benefit from these efforts and the experiences earned in the process.
“What a great experience and privilege to be a part of such a great group of co-workers who support not only the breast cancer awareness, but the many other programs we support yearly,” Rooney said.
Checks for $1,137.90 each were also presented to the Adena Cancer Center (Chillicothe) and the Holzer Center for Cancer Care (Gallipolis/Jackson).
Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) and BWX Technologies, Inc (BWXT) (NYSE: BWXT), two world-class companies with significant Ohio experience, formed Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth LLC (FBP) to address the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) needs at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Portsmouth Site in Pike County, Ohio. Fluor-BWXT which employs 1,900 workers includes two local mentor/protégé companies, inSolves and Wastren Advantage, Inc., and a small business, Pro2Serve, brings unparalleled experience, insights, and lessons learned from across the DOE complex. The Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth mandate is to clean up the Portsmouth Site safely and compliantly, provide strong uranium stewardship and partner with local communities to achieve a sustainable economic future. For more information, visit www.fbportsmouth.com.