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Thinking outside the pink box

October 28, 2013
By Kathleen Palumbo , Town Crier correspondent

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while efforts are widespread and well-known, it is the never-ending behind-the-scenes brainstorming for a constantly evolving endeavor that often goes unnoticed.

The efforts of one Austintown woman have resulted in a new take on the nationwide October mindset to "Think Pink."

According to Brenda Rider, bailiff and video bailiff coordinator at Youngstown City Hall, for the past three years, Youngstown City Hall has had a program called "Think Pink," through which all employees were encouraged to wear pink on Wednesdays. This year, however, City Hall has joined forces with the Youngstown Police Department and Youngstown Fire Department, "Making a difference in putting out breast cancer and arresting it."

Article Photos

Photo by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
Brenda Rider, a 14-year cancer survivor devotes much of her time to those waging their own war against cancer. Most recent efforts involve the sale of pink ribbon handcuff and fire hose pins being sold to raise funds to bring the MammoVan to downtown Youngstown.

From now through the end of November, the police and fire departments are selling pins designed to resemble pink ribbons shaped from handcuffs or fire hoses, for $10 each. For each pin sold, $3 is donated in an effort to bring the Mammogram Van downtown for free screenings for men and women. All prepaid orders will be placed on Oct. 28 and Nov. 18.

A 14-year breast cancer survivor, Rider, has had the full experience. Diagnosed 14 years ago and given six months to live, she beat the odds and now devotes much of her time to fundraising and lifting the spirits of those waging their own war against cancer.

Some of Rider's previous efforts, all situated under the umbrella of A Way with Words, Inc., include the 2002 development of the now well-known R.O.C.c.K. Children's Choir. Created for children who were patients, survivors, relatives or anyone who has been touched by cancer, according to its website, the decision to leave the second letter c in the lower case was intentional in an effort to make the painful effects of cancer small compared to what can be gained from the survival experiences encountered along the way.

Rider, a songwriter, also created "Life Max," a superhero character whose star-of-the-football team persona is forever changed when he leaves the team to battle cancer, returning a better, stronger person. According to Rider, a costumed "Life Max" character visits hospitals in an effort to spread the story as well as some cheer.

With the children's choir and "Life Max," as well as Saving Second Base - a co-ed softball fundraiser - and now the Think Pink pin sale, Rider's brainstorming appears to know no bounds. With this most recent endeavor, she has brought together a team that has the power to both assist in the incarceration of, or distinguish the power of, a disease that has touched countless lives.

For information on ordering Think Pink pins, contact Barb Copeland at the Youngstown Police Department at 330-717-5321, Paulette Thorne at the Youngstown Fire Department at 330-747-7403, or Rider at City Hall at 330-360-3300.



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