The Two River Times is a 2012 sponsor of “Paint The Town Pink, “a breast cancer awareness initiative sponsored by Meridian Health System. Each week through May 12, the TRT will feature stories and blogs provided by Riverview Medical Center, our local Meridian Health System affiliate, focused on communicating the importance of breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment to our readers.
By Tom Paolella
Each and every year, dozens of volunteers get together right after the New Year to begin to set the framework for the May ahead. The volunteers of the Pink committee are the backbone of Paint the Town Pink and make this week-long event a reality. Every committee member is involved for a very personal reason, each with a unique story. One of those stories is of Sally Harris of Ocean Grove. 2012 marks the sixth year Sally has been volunteering her time to the Pink committee, but more importantly, it marks the sixth year that Sally is cancer free.
Sally Harris is a firm believer in annual mammograms, especially after one identified something suspicious in one breast six years ago. When cancer was confirmed, Sally took a proactive stance, beginning by researching her condition and finding local doctors that she had confidence in. Instead of just removing one breast, Sally opted to have both removed so she wouldn’t have to worry about more breast cancer in the future.
“Early detection is the reason I’m able to participate in this event,” says Harris. “The lows and fears I felt when breast cancer was found in my body evolved into the opportunity for positive action through being part of the Business Committee of Paint the Town Pink. It’s energizing and equally rewarding to be part of this creative and productive group. Many businesses throughout Monmouth County turn their towns into a vision of pink in May. They are enthusiastic about breast cancer education and gathering donations to help women who don’t have insurance or are underinsured. Early detection is our answer to conquering breast cancer.”
Throughout the process, Sally’s husband and best friend Norm shared in her struggles and helped with the difficult decisions.
“When Sally was diagnosed with cancer, I told her that we would go on this journey together, just as we have always done things,” says Norm. “Although Sally suffered the pains and lots of emotional stress during this journey, I also was affected. If anything could make us grow closer together, this was it. There is nothing I would not do for her, no matter what. Our friends helped immensely, but when we were just the two of us, I would do the cooking (I had to learn to do that), washed and cleaned everything, and brought her things before she even thought about it. I could not take her pain away, but I could do everything else.”
Paint the Town Pink 2012 runs from May 4-12. For more information about Paint the Town Pink visit the new website at www.PainttheTownPink.com and be sure to follow Paint the Town Pink page on Facebook to see highlights of this year’s campaign and for a complete list of events and activities.