What started out as an idea amongst friends has turned into a monthlong campaign involving more than a dozen Wyandotte businesses and organizations.
And those responsible couldn’t be more proud.
“Paint the Town Pink” is a collaborative effort of many downtown business owners who have banded together under the name “Tatas Task Force” to host several events to promote breast cancer awareness.
The event, with the motto of “Educate, Celebrate, Remember,” is being held in conjunction with October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Janelle Rose, owner of Willow Tree, is one of the organizers, along with her husband, Peter, who owns Chelsea Menswear & Shoes. The couple got together months ago with Tom and Diane Woodruff, owners of Downriver Stone Design, to brainstorm ways to put a local spin on the national campaign.
“The Woodruffs and the Roses started the meetings, but then everyone in between got involved, too,” Janelle Rose said. “The ideas started coming and they’ve not stopped since.”
As the owner of a women’s clothing store, she said, she’s been involved for years with breast cancer causes sponsored by clothing manufacturers. Many of them donate $5 to breast cancer research for every clothing item sold in October.
While that’s a great idea, Janelle Rose said, Wyandotte businesses want to put a different spin on it.
“We wanted to do awareness over research because awareness is what’s going to make the difference to prevent breast cancer,” she said. “Every single person I know has been touched in some way by breast cancer. Our whole campaign is to raise awareness about mammograms and the importance of early detection.”
And with the number of local shops in Wyandotte that cater to women, she said, it made sense to get as many of them as possible involved.
“Wyandotte is a Mecca for women,” Janelle Rose said. “Women just love Wyandotte. It’s a draw for them. It just seemed like a no-brainer to tie all of that into breast cancer awareness month and to truly make a difference.”
The festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m. Monday with a ceremonial ribbon cutting near the clock tower at Biddle and Maple. Mayor Joseph Peterson will be joined by Miss Michigan Angela Venditti, along with several of the participating business owners. After the ribbon cutting, everyone will head to City Hall for the 7 p.m. City Council meeting, where an official proclamation will be read.
Special events will continue throughout the month, including lectures, fundraisers and art exhibits. Three signature events also are planned for the first three Saturdays of the month.
“Survivor Saturday” is the theme of Oct. 6, which will include several breast cancer survivors coming to Wyandotte to speak about their individual struggles. A photography unveiling also is scheduled and will take place at 4 p.m. at the Sears Building. Alicia Loos of Purple Frog Photography has shot black-and-white photos of 25 breast cancer survivors and will unveil them to the public.
“The photos are really moving and meaningful,” Janelle Rose said. “One shows a woman with her wig off and another is a woman showing her scar. They’re real life survivors who are sharing themselves with everyone through their photos.”
A 3K family fun, run, walk and roll will be held on the streets of downtown Wyandotte on Oct. 13. Registration kicks off at 8:30 a.m. at the James R. DeSana Center for Arts & Culture, with the run starting at 10 a.m. A “pinkcake” breakfast will follow at the Wyandotte Fire Department Station No. 1.
The Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail will conclude the Saturday events on Oct. 20. Eight wineries will be set up on the Wyandotte Farmers Market lot at First and Oak from noon to 6 p.m. For $20, participants can sample the various wines before a pink lantern launch at 6 p.m. in honor of those lost to breast cancer.
While “Paint the Town Pink” is the name of the event, it’s also exactly what organizers plan to do.
Starting Sunday afternoon, they’ll begin turning the downtown area into a blaze of pink for as far as the eye can see. Pink lights will be hung in trees. Pink bows will be tied around light posts and trees. Pink flowers, streamers, balloons and much more will be anywhere and everywhere.
“Anything we can get pink will be pink,” Janelle Rose said. “You won’t be able to miss it. … BASF will be tying pink ribbons to all of their 80 trees. And then it’ll be pink all the way down to Portofino.”
All of the proceeds from the monthlong events will be going to charity, with the majority going to the Yes Ma’am Program at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, which provides free mammograms to women without insurance and other means of being screened.
Janelle Rose said she has no idea how much money will be raised throughout the month, but said from the excitement level alone, it’s bound to be a success.
“We wanted to paint the town pink … and then it just sort of exploded,” she said. “It’s probably going to be the biggest thing to ever hit Wyandotte, considering the number of consecutive days that events are going on. Everyone’s really excited.”
For more information, check out our full event guide, as well as the event's Facebook page.