Portsmouth Mayor Jim Kalb declared October "Paint It Pink" month in Portsmouth.
By Wayne Allen
October is commonly known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is obvious in the area, since Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) schedules a month of activities called Paint it Pink, aimed at raising awareness and money for those struggling with the illness.
Year after year, the community takes part in Paint it Pink activities, and each year the community response is greater. Although the final numbers are not in, Wendi Waugh, director of SOMC Cancer Services and Community Health and Wellness said that fundraising estimates are upwards of $110,000.
Proceeds from October’s events go towards the SOMC Cancer Compassion Fund.
“The compassion fund has done some really amazing things, like help people pay for medications, help people get testing that their insurance has not paid for. We’ve paid for electricity during someone’s treatment that was going to be shut off, we’ve paid for transportation and countless other things through the compassion fund,” Waugh said.
The 2015 Paint it Pink activities included the selling of t-shirts. Every year, thousands of Paint it Pink t-shirts are sold and this year was no difference, with 9,500 sold.
Other Paint it Pink activities included a breast cancer screening. A free mammogram was provided for women who are uninsured or underinsured. The mammograms were provided through the Hands of Hope program, which is funded by The Columbus Affiliate of Susan G. Komen in cooperation with SOMC.
A Paint it Pink wine tasting was held at the Party Connection. A Paint it Pink 5k walk/run, 10k bike, and a one mile survivor walk was held.
A Paint it Pink Celebrity Softball game was also held. The game featured local celebrities going to bat for breast cancer awareness. As a part of the event, there was a breast cancer survivor ceremony and balloon release.
Waugh said the amount of money raised each year for the compassion fund amazes her, “It’s truly amazing and I’m always humbled. I really am humbled by people, from all walks of life, coming to support this cause.”
She said the money raised by the efforts of so many people will go a long way in helping those in need.
Waugh acknowledged the success of the 2015 Paint it Pink events sets the expectations high for 2016.
“Every year, the community continues to step up. I’m not worried, we will have what we need to take care of our people,” Waugh said.
For more information about Paint It Pink events, call 740-356-PINK or visit www.somc.org.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT