Pumpkins and Hope

This October, UF&Shands adds a twist to the fall tradition of decorating pumpkins to spread breast cancer awareness.
The Wilson family

Amanda Wilson shows her husband, Kris, and children Natalie and Savannah a pink pumpkin from the patch. Photo by Maria Belen Farias/University of Florida Health Science Center.

UF&Shands, the University of Florida academic health center, will host the Pink Pumpkin Fest this weekend as its main effort to engage the local community during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The event’s purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of breast cancer research and the life-saving capabilities of annual mammograms.

The weekend begins with a Salmon dinner fundraiser from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Micanopy Masonic Lodge. The fundraiser costs $20 per person. The funds go to UF&Shands’ cancer counseling program, Nurse Navigation.

On Saturday, the Pink Pumpkin Pedal-Off charity bicycle ride kicks off the day’s events at 8:30 a.m. at Archer Road and Gale Lemerand Drive. Participants will pledge $45 to ride 20, 40 or 55 miles throughout Gainesville to honor loved ones affected by the disease and to benefit UF&Shands’ cancer research.

Following the bicycle ride, the pumpkin painting begins at 10 a.m. along with other events for the entire family. Though the event is free, UF&Shands asks participants to register beforehand due to limited pumpkin supplies.

Kaitlin Koralewski

Kaitlin Koralewski, 14, helps attendees choose a pumpkin from the patch at last year’s Pink Pumpkin Painting Party. Community members and employees joined to pick out a pumpkin to paint pink, decorate and take home to display and help spread the word about breast cancer. Photo by Maria Belen Farias/University of Florida Health Science Center.

Throughout the festival, health care professionals will be available to provide a multitude of free screenings and general health counseling. The hope is not only to raise awareness, but also to help community members take action regarding their own health.

For the UF Shands Cancer Center, the event is a way to promote its many research programs. The research includes how genetics and the environment impact a person’s chances of getting breast cancer, says Lindy Brounley, the center’s communications director.

For more information regarding the event or to register, visit the Pink Pumpkin Fest’s page on UF&Shands’s website.

— David Williams (3PR)

Fight cancer

To make a gift to fight cancer, visit the UF Shands Cancer Center website at http://cancer.ufl.edu/administration/office-of-development/.

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  1. [...] the community, UF has raised awareness through events such as the Pink Pumpkin Fest held during Breast Cancer Awareness [...]

  2. [...] UF&Shands launched its own art project for a cause. See how decorating pumpkins helped spread cancer awareness. [...]



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