Local sign campaign for breast cancer goes national
The 2021 'Pink the Towns' campaign to support breast cancer awareness and research is expected to far exceed its 2020 fundraising total.
The initiative coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which begins October 1.
The Pink the Towns campaign includes merchandise, clothing and lawns signs.
This year 5000 signs will spread the message created by a Dorchester woman.
Bec Mathews has a smile as she reflects on public support for Pink the Towns.
"So much love. It’s unbelievable,"
Matthews started 'Pink the Towns' under its original moniker ‘Paint the Town Pink’ during the summer of 2020.
Battling Stage III Breast Cancer at the time, she was in her backyard when the idea popped in her head.
What followed was an order for 800 lawn signs that sold out. A second-order, of 400, was also snapped up quickly. Most supporters were in Dorchester, Middlesex County and London.
The result was a donation of over $13,000 to the Canadian Cancer Society.
It was a rewarding moment for Matthews, who was still undergoing cancer treatments at the time.
Fast-forward a year, and Matthews says she is on the road to better health.
"I’m just happy. I’m just happy the worst is behind me."
So, in celebration, she grew the Pink the Towns campaign online.
The result is a national response.
"We are out in Nova Scotia; we are in New Brunswick. You could do the whole map and there is a sign in someplace."
But, the effort has not been without its challenges. Matthews relies on a dozen volunteers; she says are getting tired. She hopes more people will soon step up to help reach a much loftier goal of $80,000 to $100,000.
Matthews says it is not unreasonable given $30,000 has already been raised.
To make it Matthews will need to run out of signs again.
Still, she reminds the public, raising funds is only half the message of Pink the Towns.
She says the other point is awareness, especially for young women.
"Our goal is to get these young women in the habit of checking their breasts regularly. October is breast cancer awareness month, so we want them to check their breasts. Get in the habit of doing it, 'cause we have women who are 21 in our online groups getting breast cancer."
To volunteer or order a sign, click here.