“You have cancer.” Few words in the English language carry as much power. Everyone knows someone who has cancer. Just a generation ago chemotherapy was in its infancy, radiation had yet to be refined and the concept of “surviving” cancer was unimaginable. Today, according to the American Cancer Society, 60% of all cancer deaths are preventable. In addition, many other cancers are treatable when diagnosed in early stages.

So why are the mortality rates for breast cancer - one of the most treatable of all cancers if detected early - above the state and national averages in Dare County? It is a question that has plagued many. The Outer Banks Hospital’s Development Council does not have answers. However, they have initiated a campaign to ensure that all women and men in Dare County are screened for the disease and have access to follow-up treatment. The campaign is called GET PINKED!

“This outstanding group of volunteers have launched a project which will make a positive difference in the lives of many in our community,” said Van Smith, Outer Banks Hospital President. “We owe them an enormous ‘thank you’ for their vision and commitment to fighting breast cancer in our community.”

“We are encouraging businesses and individuals to commit to raising a $1,000, either through employee campaigns, such as a “blue jeans” Friday or from their customers,” said Carl Curnutte, Co-Chairman. “The Get Pinked! committee has pledged that every $1,000 raised by our Get Pinked! Partners will go toward the detection and treatment of breast cancer in Dare County.”

The partners will be recognized at a “pinking” ceremony, where committee members will bestow a large pink ribbon on the establishment. “The pink ribbon is a visual sign that our partner has fulfilled their pledge,” added Linda Willey, Co-Chairman. “Additionally, it is an opportunity for us to thank them and recognize their participation.”

Committee members have declared that it is unacceptable that that a highly treatable form of cancer is undiagnosed in Dare County because a patient cannot afford detection and treatment. “We want to give every woman and man in Dare County the very best chance to survive the disease of breast cancer,” added Willey. “That’s our goal.”

For more information about the GET PINKED! Campaign and how to become a GET PINKED! Partner, call The Outer Banks Hospital’s Development Office at 449-9183. The campaign will run to October 15th.

PHOTO: The Outer Banks Hospital’s Get Pinked! Committee members (L-R) Courtney Quillin, Dee McManus, Karen Warlitner, Linda Willey (Co Chair), Charles Read, Carl V. Curnutte III (Co Chair), Gail Hodges, and Luanne Hege are excited to initiate the fund raising, awareness campaign called GET PINKED! They encourage businesses and individuals to become involved in this important cause. Committee members not present for the photo include: Kim Stetson and Margaret Wells.