A bright reminder of support for breast cancer patients, survivors at the Village Shops

Pink_lighting_ceremony

For the next month, the outline of the Village Shops will glow a bright magenta.

More than a hundred people gathered under the clock tower at the Village Shops Wednesday for the first-ever “Paint the Town Pink” lighting ceremony in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Shawnee Mission Health, which partnered with the shopping center to put on the event, will have its building at 75th Street and I-35 lit as well.

Becca Bell, Shawnee Mission Health’s executive director of oncology services, and a recent emigre to Prairie Village, said the shopping center provided a great focal point for drawing attention to the disease, which impacts approximately 300,000 women per year.

“It’s a beautiful location — it gets a lot of attention,” Bell said. “It’s a place that draws people from all walks of life and we want to continue to create that awareness. It is about the whole journey — there’s more than just treatment. There’s screening, there’s survivorship, there’s detection. We want to raise awareness about the disease.”

Donna Potts of the Village Merchants Association said the local business owners were interested in finding a visible way to show support for the cause.

“We wanted something that people would really notice,” said Donna Potts of the Village Merchants Association.

The merchants approached Shawnee Mission Health over the summer to inquire about possible collaborations, and Shawnee Mission Health came back with the idea of the pink lighting ceremony — the first of its kind in the Kansas City area.

The merchants are coupling Wednesday’s lighting ceremony with specials throughout the month to help bolster the message.

Next week, the merchants are hosting a “Lunch & Shop Day,” with special discounts at a number of retailers and restaurants, on Tuesday. On Thursday, they’ll have a “Date Night” with a new slate of specials. The merchants will be accepting donations to Camp Bluebird, a retreat for adult patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, throughout the month. A full schedule of events can be found here.

Potts said there has been talk of extending the event to Corinth Square next year.

Breast cancer survivor Rita Hunt (left) and KMBC anchor Kelly Eckerman applaud after flipping the switch to turn on the pink lights at the Village Shops.
Breast cancer survivor Rita Hunt (left) and KMBC anchor Kelly Eckerman applaud after flipping the switch to turn on the pink lights at the Village Shops.