Pink is the Valley’s color of choice

Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo, right, serves Janet Hall during the Waiters Go Pink fundraiser at Jesse Camilles Restaurant last October. This year’s event, which raises money for breast cancer research as part of Griffin Hospital’s annual Valley Goes Pink campaign, will be held Oct. 25. -FILE PHOTO

Whether it’s an article of clothing, a cupcake, or a wristband one thing’s for sure it’ll be pink this month in the Valley.

Derby’s Griffin Hospital is holding its annual Valley Goes Pink campaign throughout the month for breast cancer awareness. This is the third year the hospital has run the campaign.

“It started when Griffin Hospital began plans to conduct a financial fundraising campaign to help support creation of center for breast wellness,” Executive Director of the Griffin Hospital Development Fund Connie Evans said.

She explained that the hospital wanted to create a grassroots movement that the entire community could join. She looked to what other people had done around the country and discovered that having an entire community go pink was very popular.

“I thought, well, we could do that here in the valley. We are a wonderfully connected place,” Evans said. “We just reached out to other towns and asked if they would go pink. The wonderful thing is that people really responded to this.”

For Naugatuck resident and breast cancer survivor Maggie Hrebik, this is more than just a grassroots campaign.

“They need to keep it going to let people realize it’s very important that people get involved,” Hrebik said.

Hrebik, who is helping to sell wristbands and coordinate pink events at senior centers in the Valley, is not unfamiliar with causes to raise awareness for breast cancer. Aside from helping out with the Valley Goes Pink campaign, Hrebik also volunteered with the Relay for Life at The Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center in Waterbury.

“There is so much cancer, and young people are getting it. It’s just not fair for anybody to get it. It’s a scary thing. They need to keep it going to let people realize it’s very important that people get involved,” Hrebik said.

Hrebik said even if a person doesn’t have money to give there are still ways to donate and help out.

“Money or no money, people should get involved,” Hrebik said. “It’s a very important thing to get involved in.”

Peg Sheehy, the volunteer coordinator for Valley Goes Pink in Naugatuck, is once again helping the borough go pink this year.

A number of events are panned this month in the borough, including Waiters Go Pink Oct. 25 at Jesse Camille’s Restaurant.

During Waiters Go Pink, patrons are waited on by luminaries of the town, such as Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, and all tips go to Griffin Hospital.

On Oct. 27, a breast wellness walk will be held from 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Linden Park. All the proceeds go directly to Griffin Hospital.

According to Sheehy, the borough raised approximately $5,000 last year for Griffin Hospital. She hopes to take in more than that this year.

All of the money raised for Griffin Hospital will go towards providing local care and assistance, Evans said.

“The thing with the campaign is that every dollar raised in the Valley stays in the Valley, Evans said. “There are a lot of good causes out there that you can contribute to, but this cause is local.”

Evans pointed out that the money collected during this event can be seen being put to work.

“Anybody can walk right into the center any day and see where their money is going,” Evans said.

In the end, Evans said the public benefits.

“The ultimate beneficiary is the public. They are aware that early detection saves lives. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness and inspire women to get checkups,” Evans said.

Evans said that the hospital is thankful to all those businesses and volunteers who have stepped up and helped out with Valley Goes Pink.

“We are very, very grateful to our community for all that they do, and with such spirit. Every penny counts,” Evans said.

Lauren Kazzi, the volunteer coordinator for Valley Goes Pink in Beacon Falls, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

For more information on Valley Goes Pink and upcoming events, visit www.griffinhealth.org/pink.

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