Though the largest audience to date viewed Prairie Material’s pink Breast Cancer Awareness mixer truck during the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade, the
Though the largest audience to date viewed Prairie Material’s pink Breast Cancer Awareness mixer truck during the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade, the vehicle has graced city construction sites since June 2006. At that time, Bridgeview, Ill.-based Prairie Material aimed to raise public awareness of breast cancer as a public and community concern by painting two of its fleet of 1,000 mixers pink and adding the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon.
Members of my family and the families of our employees are breast cancer survivors. We realize to survive breast cancer you need not only early intervention and proper medical treatment, but also the full support of family and community, explains Michael J. Oremus, Prairie Material partner and family spokesman. The idea to paint the trucks pink to raise public awareness came from my teenaged half-brother, John, whose aunt and cousin are both breast cancer survivors. The pink trucks deliver concrete throughout the Chicagoland area, bringing attention to the fight against cancer.
Gail Pashup joined the campaign as a pink truck driver after she was contacted in February 2006 by company management that posed the question: Would you like to drive a pink truck? I figured it would be one of Prairie’s green trucks with maybe a pink ribbon painted on it, she says. I had no idea just how pink it would be until it was delivered in June. It’s a pretty truck.
In the course of delivering as many as eight loads per day throughout the Chicago area, the reception among fellow construction professionals has been overwhelmingly positive. Once contractors figured out what the truck was all about, a lot of them would come up to me and say that their mother or wife had fought cancer and won, Pashup says. Or, they would tell me that a loved one had died from cancer. That’s always hard. But today, most job sites just see ÎPinkyÌ as another truck on the job.
Pashup enjoys making the public’s head turn when she’s driving around Chicago. Pretty much on a daily basis, I’ll see people take photos with their cell phones or doing a double take when I round the corner, she says. Little kids, especially, seem to like seeing the truck.
Pashup’s contribution to the cause goes beyond the construction arena to appearances at cancer research fund-raising, awareness-raising, and survivors’ events around the city. In fact, her plan is to take part in this year’s Mother’s Day 3-Mile Walk/5-K Run for Breast Cancer along Chicago’s lakefront. What makes doing that especially nice is that many of the Prairie drivers have pledged money to sponsor my walk, she adds.
Adds Oremus, When people see a truck, usually associated with men and an intense labor profession, now painted pink, it makes them stop, think, and realize that breast cancer impacts all of us, either as victims or as family members who share in the struggle against this disease.