Pink Heals partnered with the Chapel Hill Fire Department to help raise cancer awareness. After spending the morning with people at the N.C. Cancer Hospital, the group paraded down Franklin Street and across Chapel Hill.
“I think what Pink Heals stands for is a really great cause,” said sophomore biology major Kaitlyn Haman.
Haman said two of her family members have been diagnosed with cancer. She said raising awareness is an important way to make sure people know how to prevent cancer and help those who have been diagnosed with it.
“Having knowledge about it would benefit to be able to give help in any way possible,” she said.
Lisa Edwards, spokeswoman for the Chapel Hill Fire Department, said the Pink Heals movement empowers local communities.
“It can be a random disease, and there’s nothing more important than for these women to feel empowered and for people in the communities to be educated and aware,” Edwards said.
Edwards said Pink Heals is not only for survivors or caretakers but also for family members and even those who simply want to know more.
Michael Mullins, regional vice president of the East Coast Pink Heals, has been on seven national tours with the organization and said he doesn’t plan on stopping soon.
“I’m paying it forward,” Mullins said. “If you take care of the women they’ll take care of you.”
Edwards said Pink Heals has raised $2,106 so far in 2014 in Chapel Hill. The money raised goes directly to families for medical expenses, she said.
“Pink Heals is a different type of healthcare, and membership is not based on what you can pay,” Mullins said.
Chuck Goins, president of the Triad chapter of Pink Heals and regional vice president of the Midwest/East Coast Pink Heals, said if women get behind the cause, support from the rest of the community will follow.
“Cancer didn’t resonate with me at the time, but pink fire trucks did,” Goins said, referring to how he first got involved in the organization.
“Going on the Pink Heals tour is a life-changing experience,” he said.
This is the second time the Pink Heals parade has visited Chapel Hill, but Edwards said the community has supported the organization for four years through themed football games, T-shirt sales and donations.
“The town has been in full support,” she said.
Sophomore Jasmine Cash said she came to the event to support her community.
“When people with cancer, survivors or supporters see everyone rally together, it gives the people involved the strength to keep fighting,” she said. “It’s important to ground oneself and bring attention to a disease that makes itself known.”
Mullins said awareness and support isn’t a one day event.
“We need the support of these local communities 365 days a year,” he said.
Haman said she appreciates the Pink Heals effort for cancer awareness and education.
“If you get a lot of people together for one cause, people are more willing to give to the cause,” she said. “Events like this help a community come together.”