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16th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Banquet to Paint Ponca City Pink
By Tourism Industry Partner
Ponca City, OK – If it’s Oct. 27 and you think you are seeing pink…you probably are as Soroptimist International of Ponca City and the Ponca City Medical Center join forces to “Paint Ponca Pink.” Paint Ponca Pink is the theme of the Soroptimist 16th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Banquet to be held at 6:30 pm., Thursday, Oct. 27 at Northeast Baptist Church. Sponsored in conjunction with the Ponca City Medical Center’s Healthy Woman Program, the annual banquet will be the culmination of the day to raise awareness about cancer by “Painting Ponca Pink” almost literally. Pink fire trucks, pink shirts, pink ribbons…pink will be the color of the day all over Ponca City. It begins with the arrival of the Pink Heals Tour pink fire trucks, Guardians of the Ribbon, led by Dave Graybill, founder of the Pink Heals Tour. This will be the second consecutive year for the trucks to come to Ponca City with their message of hope. Everyone is invited to come see the pink fire trucks and meet Graybill and the other firefighters at the Marland Mansion from 11:30 am-2 pm, said Cathy Cole of the Healthy Woman Program. Thursday evening the fire trucks will make their way to Northeast Baptist Church for the annual Soroptimist banquet where Graybill will be the featured speaker. According to the website www.pinkfiretrucks.org, Dave Graybill is not your average fireman. A former major league baseball player and Olympic athlete he has turned his desire to help others into the Pink Heals Tour. It all began with a co-workers struggle. “One day I had an epiphany,” said Graybill on the website. “I asked myself, ‘What if we as men started fighting cancer and standing up for our women?” From this along with inspiration and help from Wes Malcolm, a Tyler, Tx. firefighter who watched his wife battle cancer, came the idea of touring the country in pink fire trucks and having them signed by survivors. The Pink Heals Tour has visited over 1,000 cities and the trucks are decorated with over 40,000 signatures. “Since the beginning of time, men were called to protect their women and children,” says Graybill on the website. “Right now, women are being bullied by cancer. As men, we need to stand up for our women in every way, shape, and form.” Their initiative is to influence and inspire communities to set up their own cancer relief funds. Ponca City has caught Dave’s inspiration and with the help of the Community Health Foundation of Ponca City and the Healthy Woman Program a fund is being set up to provide mammograms and related breast cancer diagnostic tests for uninsured and underinsured women. At the banquet Soroptimist International will make an initial donation to the fund. In addition, a live auction at the banquet will help raise money for the fund. As fire fighters and police officers, they wear a blue shirt every other day of the year. Their mission is to lose the blue and don the pink in honor of women. Women represent a large percentage of the population, and what an impact it will have for all women to see the support in pink. Joining the Guardians of The Ribbon will be members of the Ponca City Fire Department in pink t-shirts as a way to support all women in their fight against all cancers. Women survivors of all types of cancer are invited to attend the Pink Heals Tour stop and sign one of the fire trucks with their personal message of hope. The sale of the Guardians logo shirts and the donations they receive directly are used by the Guardians of the Ribbons Inc. for gas, maintenance on the fire truck, as well as food and lodging for the tour. Tickets for the evening Soroptimist Breast Cancer Awareness banquet are $15 and will be available starting Sept. 21 at the Healthy Woman Conference Center at Ponca City Medical Center and Mock Fashion Floors, Pine and W. Grand in Ponca City. Only a limited number of tickets are available. Sponsors of the Soroptimist banquet in addition to the Healthy Woman program include Blood and Cancer Center, Optim Oncology, ConocoPhillips, Dr. Ron Kreger and Eastman National Bank. Soroptimist International of Ponca City is a service organization for business and professional women dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. Founded in 1950, the Ponca City club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas where almost 100,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories contribute time and financial support to community-based projects that benefit women. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, call Denise Jack, SIPC president, at 580-304-4067. Information about the Healthy Woman Program can be obtained by contacting Cathy Cole at 580-716-2570.