October brings Athens Goes Pink to help battle breast cancer

A painted pumpkin sits on the step of the Press Place building prior to the Hunt for Hope Scavenger hunt. (Jacquoi Turner/Spotted)

October is the month for falling leaves, Columbus Day, Georgia’s annual tussle with Florida in Jacksonville and Halloween.


But perhaps more importantly, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign developed some three decades ago to call attention and raise research funds for the disease that claims the lives of some 40,000 American women each year.

Raising awareness and money have been pet projects of the Athens Banner-Herald and Online Athens for many years, and 2016 will be no different as staffers will be extremely busy this month with a number of initiatives designed to have a little fun while dealing with a very serious subject.

One of the best methods for treating breast cancer is early detection through mammograms and Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital and Athens Diagnostic are teaming up to offer One Day for Mammograms, a program that raises funds for women who might not otherwise have the procedure.

The Athens Banner-Herald and Online Athens, in concert with a host of other local entities including Urban Enigmas Escape Room, hosts a fun fundraiser known as the Hunt for Hope, a community-wide scavenger hunt that last year raised enough money to provide mammograms to nearly 150 uninsured women in the area.

The Hunt for Hope is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1 Press Place. For more information, visit www.onlineathens.com/huntforhope.

“We put a big focus on the Hunt for Hope,” said Tina Laseter, Online Athens’ director for marketing and engagement. “We started it three years ago to put a different twist on the awareness issue. We wanted to do something fun.

“We’ve come up with a scavenger hunt where people look all over town for items that are related to breast-cancer awareness. They’re pink they’re iconic Athens locations. All of that is based on a point system, and whoever gets the most points in the shortest amount of time wins. It’s pretty fun.”

The fee for the scavenger hunt is $50 (with all proceeds going to One Day for Mammograms) and winning teams can choose from one of several excellent prizes, including a tailgate package for the Georgia football game against Auburn, more than $250 worth of salon services from Body Brite and tickets for events like the upcoming Ben Vereen concert at the Classic Center and an opportunity to make a great escape at Urban Enigmas.

“Between sponsors and attendees we usually have about 250 people show up,” Laseter said. “It’s really fun because I’m going to be sending out a bonus clues for folks who register early. They’ll get bonus clues each week to help them win.

“It’s fun, too, because we ask people to decorate their cars for extra points and we give extra points for each item of clothing being pink. We had a guy last year who had on a pink Superman cape – that was awesome. The concept behind that is cool and we raise awareness with all these people dressed in pink running around town on a Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, people will stop and ask, or they will see our information at the paper.”

The Banner-Herald will produce print products that will also call attention to breast cancer, a weekly “Athens Goes Pink” section (which every Wednesday will tell the stories of those with breast cancer and provide a comprehensive calendar of awareness-related events) and The Page of Hope, which will offer a pictorial tribute to those affected by breast cancer.

“The Page of Hope, designed to memorialize or honor those who have experienced breast cancer firsthand,” Laseter said. “Readers can send in a photo of your loved one and we will publish page in the newspaper and online on Oct. 30. The proceeds from Page of Hope will also go to One Day for Mammograms.”

The fee to submit a photo for the Page of Hope is $15 and the deadline for submission is Wednesday, Oct. 26. To make a submission, visit www.onlineathens.com/pageofhope/submit

To submit a calendar entry for the weekly “Athens Goes Pink” section, visit www.onlineathens.com and click the Think Pink tab.

The Banner-Herald will also lend support to the Piedmont Athens Regional Foundation’s annual In Their Shoes walk, now in its 11th year. The 13.1-mile walk is set for 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Piedmont Athens Regional, and 100 percent of the proceeds go toward the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support.

“That’s a big weekend,” Laseter said. “It’s an off weekend for Georgia football and there’s the the In Her Shoes walk on Saturday and the Hunt for Hope scavenger hunt on Sunday and probably a million other things going on.”

For more information on the Athens Banner-Herald and OnlineAthens’ commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, call (706) 208-2318.