Tahlequah Daily Press

October 4, 2013

Think pink: The drive to share awareness

SHERI GOURD
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Since this time last year, community members may have noticed a brightly colored vehicle tooling about the area, performing a critical task.

Tahlequah City Hospital is shining a spotlight on the fight against breast cancer every day with a Toyota car wrapped in pink vinyl. The vehicle is primarily used to deliver lab work and results to medical facilities.

 “The car is great, and you just can’t miss it. It’s one way of letting the communities we serve know that we’re here when they need us,”  said TCH President and CEO Brian Woodliff.

In one year, the pink car has logged 23,244 miles traveling to Westville, Hulbert, Fort Gibson, Muskogee, and all over Tahlequah and Cherokee County.

Joshuah Reasor, TCH director of customer relations and marketing, said this project was initially only slated for October 2012, for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But since public response was overwhelmingly positive, TCH officials decided to keep the vehicle wrapped.

Another reason the car is sparking a reaction is the physical presence of the current driver. Charles Reed is over 6 feet tall and tends to get smiles from people when they see him in the pink car.

Reasor said people often say they enjoy seeing the vehicle on its rounds.  

“They tell us that it’s a great way to raise awareness for the cause,” said Reasor.

Tahlequah is not the only city to have a vehicle-turned-pink promoting the cause of cancer awareness.

According to the Oklahoma Emergency Service Authority website, Tulsa was the first city in the international  “Cares Enough to Wear Pink”  movement to have all three types of public service vehicles - police, fire, and ambulance - go pink.

But why pink?

“Pink to me means power, passion, and love,” said Judi Grove, director of Turn Tulsa Pink. “And it can be the color for all people fighting cancer, not just one.”

The color pink has represented National Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 1991.

If you haven’t seen the TCH pink car in action, October will offer a couple of opportunities. The hospital will often have it parked on the lawn of its building, 1400 E. Downing St.

In conjunction with the Tahlequah North End Music Fest and Northeastern State University’s Homecoming, Oct. 4-5, the care will be on display in Norris City Park. TCH staff will be available to answer questions about breast cancer detection and prevention.

CHECK IT OUT

The aim of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Tahlequah City Hospital is offering mammograms for a flat fee of $75. Women must be at least 40 years of age and have a signed physician’s order to participate in this special. Appointments can be made by calling (918) 772-4588. For patient convenience, appointments will be accepted on Saturday, Oct. 26, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The best protection is early detection!

sgourd@tahlequahdailypress.com