For the sixth consecutive year, the Pink Heals Tour will stop in Starkville Saturday, a nation-wide grassroots charity effort (featuring pink firetrucks) that raises money for women battling any type of cancer. The event will be held at Fire Station 1 on East Lampkin Street, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and lasting into the afternoon.
The Pink Heals Tour is decentralized, featuring a vast network of chapters (or fire stations) that harbor a pink firetruck year round. When the tour comes to town (anytime from June to October), they only ask one thing: that all money raised stays local. The national program mostly operates from donations and online merchandise sales; it simply lends its artistic brand to communities so they can help themselves.
“The only thing they will accept is food and gas money,” said Charles Yarbrough, event coordinator and Starkville Fire Department training officer.
The feature event will begin at noon, as a pink firetruck – covered in signatures from women who have battled any type of cancer – rolls into town. The firetruck will be provided by the Pontotoc Fire Department, Mississippi's only Pink Heals chapter.
“Everyone is encouraged to wear pink,” Yarbrough said. “We do this to give back to the women in our community. We all have moms and sisters, and we need to make sure we honor them. This whole thing is about honoring women. It's our No. 1 goal.”
The event will begin with a 5K run starting and ending at Fire Station 1,
winding through Main Street to Whitfield to Gillespie.
“We'll call it a historic tour of downtown,” Yarbrough said.
Money has primarily been raised via area sponsorships; however, a donation booth will also be set up, along with a merchandise tent. Most of the donations will go toward enhancing the Center for Breast Health and Imaging at Oktibbeha County Hospital. Moreover, an all-expense paid trip will be arranged for a local cancer survivor – or a woman battling cancer – to the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa in Birmingham. The trip participant will be determined by a random drawing.
“A woman who has been through cancer, they deserve the opportunity to get away and be pampered,” Yarbrough said.
The event will also provide free hotdogs and hamburgers to all attendees and incorporate an area for children, complete with face-painting and inflatable bouncers. Community businesses will also provide door prizes, including cow bells and gift cards.
The event's staple sponsors include the Hilton Garden Inn, Phi Beta Sigma, Starkville Advanced Collision Repair and Roberson Law Firm.
For more information about the Pink Heals Tour, please visit the following link: http://www.pinkfiretrucks.org/