"Margaret" leads Pink Light Walk
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Members of the West End Relay For Life team Fear Not took turns penning messages of hope and encouragement on Margaret, the Guardians of the Ribbon Pink Heals fire truck that led the West End Pink Light Walk. They are, left to right, back row: Betsy Barry of Pen Argyl, Aleida Sharp, Sciota, Sue Sandman, Kunkletown and Merry Stanfield, Long Pond; front, Stephaine Sharp and Kylie Sharp, Sciota.
Pink was the color of the day.
Walkers strolled in the light of an amazing pink sunset, as if God was smiling upon them for their efforts.
Pink "Margaret" proudly led the West End Pink Light Walk on Wednesday night from the American Legion Post 927, Gilbert, on Rt. 209 to Fairgrounds Road and back to the Legion.
"Margaret" is a pink 1977 LaFrance fire engine that is now a member of the Guardians of the Ribbon-Slate Belt Chapter.
In her other life, she was purchased brand new by the Portland Hook and Ladder Co. #1.
She was later transferred to the East Bangor Fire Department until 2012. She was then given a new lease on life when she received her new paint job of Breast Cancer Pink and became a member of the national nonprofit organization of Guardians of the Ribbon.
This organization is a group of firefighters, police officers, local government officials and volunteers that support all types of cancer relief efforts and focus on women as a whole in whatever type of cancer they battle.
They feel that the nature of men is to care for the women in their lives, and this is just another way to show love and support. It is their way to deliver the message of "Love and Hope."
They encourage people to sign the truck with signatures and messages to those who have fought and survived and to honor those who lost the battle. The signatures are a testament to the ideal that those fighting cancer are not alone.
"Margaret" was named for a strong wife, loving mother and a 'cool' mother-in-law, who never let anyone know she was suffering and lost her battle to cancer in October 2010.
Lisa Rigione and husband John started Pennsylvania's first Chapter of The Guardians of the Ribbon Pink Heals.
On the door panels are the insignia of the Guardian truck that says "Pink Heals," and "Cares Enough To Wear Pink" and the words "Awareness, Love, Rescue and Hope."
Before the walk, participants purchased tickets to win prizes in a Chinese auction and win a raffle of a beautiful painting of the Breast Cancer ribbon adorned in daisies by Dottie Herrmann.
The walk made a stop at Pencor's Ye Olde Village Professional Plaza, where a collection of Pink Flags of October in the shape of the breast cancer ribbon, flew gently in the early evening breeze, commemorating the 10th year of this local walk.
Speakers Hope Smith, Mary Sciandra, Thomas Yanac Jr., Honi Gruenberg, Aleida Sharp and Nick Stanovick spoke briefly about their cancer experiences, providing hope and positive encouragement to continue fighting for a cure.
Music was provided by Rachel Wild. Cancer survivors were given recognition for having won the fight.
"This was our best year yet," said Mariann Ferro, coordinator of the event. "We had at least 170 walkers. I think the flags drew a lot of people in."
Ferro believes this may have been the most emotional one for her since it began 10 years ago.
Eleven years ago Ferro's older sister Nancy was diagnosed with cancer.
Ferro walked in the Pink Light Walk in Stroudsburg and said to her friends, "Why can't we do this in the West End?" and they said, "We can. Let's do it."
Ferro is one of seven children.
"Three of my sisters had breast cancer. My sister, Mary, passed away three years ago at the age of 47. I want to see a cure for cancer," she said.