A flock of pink yard flamingos descended on the lawn at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts this week to mark the kickoff of Pink Out 2016.
The flock is the first of many that will be landing around Central Florida for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, Orlando City Commissioner Robert Stuart read a proclamation declaring October to be Pink Out Month in the city.
The annual Pink Out campaign raises money for the Florida Hospital Breast Cancer Care Fund, which pays for mammograms for women who might not otherwise be able to afford them.
Businesses in Winter Park, College Park, Altamonte Springs, Winter Garden, Celebration and Kissimmee will sell the flamingos beginning today through the end of October. Proceeds from the flamingos go directly to the Breast Cancer Care Fund.
In addition, the Dr. Phillips Center, Amway Center, and Ginsburg tower at Florida Hospital will all be illuminated in pink in the coming days.
Since Pink Out began in Winter Park in 2011, more than 10,000 flamingos have been sold. In 2015 alone, 1,548 women were able to get screened thanks to Pink Out funding.
Pink Out is an important way for Florida Hospital to engage the community and raise awareness about the importance of preventive health, said Sharon Line Clary, Vice President of Marketing for Florida Hospital.
Florida Hospital surgeon and breast cancer specialist Dr. Olga Ivanov spoke about the importance of the initiative, as did one of her patients, Linda Chisholm of Winter Garden.
More than 200,000 women across the country will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year, said Ivanov. But mammograms are crucial early detection of breast cancer greatly improves the chances of successful treatment.
Chisholm learned she had breast cancer after a routine mammogram. She's now cancer free, and works to tell other women about the importance of getting screened.
Don't put it off. When detected early, breast cancer is treatable, Chisholm said. Getting a mammogram saved my life, and it can save yours, too.
For a list of retailers selling the flamingoes, or to buy one online, go to pinkout.com.