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Paint it Pink: Fighters, survivors set to paint town pink

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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Line of Resilience

LINE OF RESILIENCE – Survivors of breast cancer painted a pink line down Main Street during the 2017 Paint the Town Pink. The event will return Friday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Often, when you hear how breast cancer impacts everybody, the phrase goes in one ear and out the other.

It’s common; it’s often repeated, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.

Here in Wise County, the impact of breast cancer will not fall on deaf ears.

On Friday, that truth will be illustrated on a canvas of cement in downtown Decatur as survivors, fighters and others impacted by breast cancer take their turn with the paintbrush to stripe the street. They will all make a mark, indicating their battle, triumph or grief.

Linda Johnson, director of Wise Health Foundation, said it’s a powerful scene for powerful women.

“To see them taking that roller and making that stripe of pink paint down the Main Street center line, it really impacts you,” Johnson said. “You see how many people [are affected], and this is just for one afternoon. Breast cancer affects so many across the world. It’s fun to see women come out and really take pride in the battle they won.”

On Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Decatur will once again Paint the Town Pink. All proceeds from the raffle, bake sale, and brown bag lunches will benefit Mary’s Gift and Wise Health System Women’s Health Services.

“We cannot do what we do without the support of the community,” Johnson said. “Their generosity is what makes Mary’s Gift and Wise Health Foundation possible.”

Mary’s Gift provides free and low cost mammography services to the uninsured and underinsured in Wise County. They provide mammograms, diagnostic mammograms and biopsies.

Mary’s Gift recently purchased a 3D imaging mammography machine. Johnson said what Mary’s Gift provides will impact generations.

“It’s going to help generations to come,” she said. “Wise County is always growing and the need for quality health care will always be there. The foundation really wants to move forward in helping maintain the level of care at the hospital that they do.”

Area high schools have hosted pink outs benefiting Mary’s Gift. Chico raised more than $1,300 last Friday, and Decatur’s pink out fundraiser is this week. Bridgeport is also planning one in the coming weeks.

The Decatur Main Street Program hosts Paint the Town Pink, but any cross-county rivalries are put aside for a good cause, said Main Street Director Frieda Lasater.

“We’re going to bridge the Big Sandy,” she said. “The cheerleaders from Bridgeport and Decatur both come and support. We try to bridge the Sandy and have it be an all-county event because we do really believe in the efforts of the mammography center and Wise Health Foundation that helps women of Wise County.”

The Decatur Main Street Program is organizing the event.

Lasater said entrance to the event is free, but lunch will require a minimum $5 donation. There will also be a raffle and a bake sale. Anyone can enter an item into the raffle. To donate an item, contact Lasater at 940-399-9558. All proceeds will go directly to Mary’s Gift.

“We have a lot of the same people that come back every year, and we honor some lost along the way,” Lasater said. “It’s very special.”

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