Whiting paints town pink for cancer awareness - May 12, 2016

Courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana • May 12, 2016

By Paul Czapkowicz, Times Correspondent

WHITING — The billboards at the entrance to the city’s business district at Indianapolis Boulevard and 119th Street tell passersby the Whiting-Robertsdale community is once again fighting breast cancer through its annual, monthlong Paint the Town Pink events.

One billboard lists planned fundraising events and the other features photos of women currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Whiting resident Stephanie Madison and local business owner Kathleen Ulm co-founded the city’s Paint the Town Pink movement, now in its sixth year.

Madison said both she and Ulm have known people diagnosed with breast cancer and it’s a cause for which they both had strong feelings.

“Kathleen had lost an aunt to breast cancer, so it meant a lot to her.” Madison said. “I had done some research and discovered that the rate of breast cancer is higher in Northwest Indiana than it is in most of the rest of the country.”

Although October is officially Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Madison said May was chosen as Paint the Town Pink month because it is a time during which not many other activities take place in Whiting.

“We wanted this to get all of the attention,” Madison said.

She said $50,000 was raised in the first five years, including approximately $15,000 last year.

“Our goal this year is $18,000,” Madison said. “We try to increase a little bit every year and we have increased a little bit every year.”

She is proud the money generated comes not from corporate sponsors but from donations made by residents and local merchants.

“We raise this like $25 at a time,” Madison said.

Madison said all of the money raised this year will go to the Methodist Hospitals Breast Care Center in Merrillville to help fund a mobile mammogram unit that she said will be the first of its kind in the area.

There are four main fundraising events this month, with the first being a Stomp Out Cancer 5K Fun Run/Walk on Saturday.

It starts at 10 a.m. at Oil City Stadium and will follow the Whiting-Robertsdale Bike Trail.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce, 1417 119th St., or at www.active.com.

The cost to enter is $25.

A junk car painted by Whiting High School art students will be at the city’s Cruise Night on Wednesday so people can pay $1 to “smash” cancer by hitting the vehicle with a sledgehammer.

A premiere event, “Not Your Mama’s Bunco Night,” is at 7 p.m. May 21 at the Center Lounge, 1312 119th St.

The cost is $10 to play and a cash prize will be awarded for first place.

The annual Battin’ For Boobies Fundraiser Softball Games takes to the field at 12:30 p.m. on May 22 at the Whiting Little League Fields.

Game 1 will match employees of Region Signs against members of the Whiting Police and Fire departments.

The second game will pit staff and alumni of Clark High School against Whiting High staff and alumni.

A championship game will follow the first two games.

Admission is free.