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Real Women Pick Pink: Picking For A Cause

September 19, 2012

If ever a color and cause were married, the union of pink and breast cancer awareness is probably the most recognizable collaboration in decades. Since 1992, pink has been the shade that draws attention to the cancer that affects one in eight women in the United States each year. Each October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, store shelves are lined with all things pink, from socks, to flashlights to men’s ties.
From the White House to the Battleship New Jersey, landmarks and buildings coast to coast have also been illuminated in pink lights as a call to action for women to get regular screenings. On October 1, 2012, the century old Bristol sign will undergo that same dramatic transformation, when the more than 1,000 white bulbs in the sign will be replaced with pink.

The changing of the sign is the first event of a month-long observation, Real Women Pick Pink, which culminates with a female-centric concert on October 20. Proceeds from the event will benefit local cancer education and patient care through Wellmont Cancer Institute and Tri-Cities Susan G. Komen For The Cure (R).

The event was created, and is being presented by, the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and the Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), in partnership with a host of regional sponsors.

“This is a departure for us,” said Joy Madison, President & CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. “While we are accustomed to lending support to large community events like Bristol Rhythm & Roots and Border Bash, it is rare that we produce an event of our own, of the magnitude of Real Women Pick Pink,” she said. Madison added that Real Women Pick Pink is an event of great personal significance to the Chamber & CVB staff.
“From the initial concept of turning the Bristol Sign pink, to the creation of a one-day music event, Real Women Pick Pink was born from a real desire of the Chamber Board of Directors and the staff to raise awareness, and honor family members lost to breast cancer,” she said.

On September 27, crews from Bristol Tennessee Essential Services and BVU Authority will work in tandem to install the pink bulbs. The process will render the historic sign dark for three nights, but then, on October 1, a dramatic lighting ceremony will take place at 7:30 pm at the Bristol Train Station circle, and historic downtown Bristol will be washed in pink throughout the entire month.

“In order to turn the sign pink, the public has been invited to sponsor bulbs in memory of, or in honor of someone who has been touched by breast cancer,” said Matt Bolas, Executive Director of the Bristol CVB. “The response to this initiative has been heartwarming and overwhelming and, to date, several hundred bulbs have been purchased,” Bolas added. Pink bulb sponsorship is available for $20 a bulb, and the deadline to sponsor is Friday, September 21. The roster of honorees will be acknowledged in print and online promotions, banners at the October events, and on the website, realwomenpickpink.com.

On October 20, just a few weeks after the familiar refrains of Bristol Rhythm & Roots have faded, downtown Bristol will once again be filled with music as Real Women Pick Pink sets the stage for female artists and female-led bands to shine under the pink glow of the Bristol sign on two outdoor stages and several indoor venues throughout State Street.
“It was important to have musicians with broad-based appeal, and, especially those who may have not appeared in a Bristol venue prior to Real Women Pick Pink,” said Bolas. “Some artists are classic, some edgy, but all are excited about picking for a cause,” he added.

Headliners include Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison and Suzy Bogguss. Supporting performers include Jill Andrews, Megan Jean & the KFB, My New Favorites, Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys, The Broadcast and The Trishas. Rounding out the lineup will be local and regional perennial favorite artists Alli Epperson, Amythyst Kiah, Annie Robinette, April Taylor, Barlow Gin, Beth Snapp, Daisi Rain, If Birds Could Fly, Karahann Kiser and Kim Lyons and Jessica Nixon. Main stages for Real Women Pick Pink will be located at the Bristol Sign and the Birthplace of Country Music Mural.

Throughout downtown, participants will also have the opportunity to learn about breast cancer awareness and prevention, have health screenings and risk assessments and obtain mammograms through the Wellmont Health System Health Coach.
Sue Lindenbusch, Vice President of Wellmont Cancer Institute, says Real Women Pick Pink will be a will be a tremendous venue to reach an important group of women who may be unaware about their risk for breast cancer and the importance of annual mammography screening.

“The music line-up and general nature of the event is designed to appeal to a younger demographic, those individuals who may think breast cancer only happens to someone else,” she said. “Funds from this event will allow us provide much needed essentials for our cancer patients, such as assistance with utility bills, groceries and medications,” she said. “Providing these services helps alleviate a small portion of the uncertainty that patients and families often face after a diagnosis of cancer,” she added.

“We are very appreciative of the opportunity to be a beneficiary of Real Women Pick Pink,” said Curt Rose, President of the Board, Tri-Cities Susan G. Komen For The Cure®. “The medium of music is such a powerful tool to spread awareness of breast cancer,” he added. “In the past six years, more than 9,000 women have received mammograms through the assistance of our organization,” he said. “Through Real Women Pick Pink, our outreach and education can be increased, and money raised locally will stay local, to assist those who may not have access to early screening tools,” Rose concluded.

The morning of October 20, Zumba® enthusiasts are encouraged to don pink exercise attire and take part in the Real Women Pick Pink Zumba® Party. Registration is at 8:00 am, and the party starts at 8:30 am in Cumberland Square Park. Registration is $5.
Ticket price for the Real Women Pick Pink music event on October 20 is $25. Gates open at 10:30 am, and the music begins at 1 pm. There is no charge for the sign lighting event on October 1, and the public is invited to attend. Tickets and pink bulb sponsorships will be available for purchase at the Real Women Pick Pink tent at Bristol Rhythm & Roots this weekend. Tickets will also be available at the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, 20 Volunteer Parkway, Bristol, TN beginning Friday, September 14, or may be purchased online, or at the gate on October 20.

For a memorial bulb sponsor form, as well as a complete listing of music events, headliners and venues, tickets and all the Real Women Pick Pink happenings, visit: realwomenpickpink.com and at facebook.com/RealWomenPickPink.