Caloosa Belle

Pink Heals – celebrating people, not causes

On November 22, a group of local friends along with several volunteers from Pink Heals Southwest Florida surprised Sallie Brown with a visit from the ‘pink fire truck’. The Pink Heals mission is to support people and not causes. They strive to promote love and support for those affected by cancer. (Caloosa Belle/Amanda Nelson)

On November 22, Sallie Brown received a huge and wonderful surprise. While at work, she was greeted by several ‘men in pink’ followed by many others who love her.

Sallie Brown works for the Driver’s License Division in the Hendry County Tax Collector’s Office. If you have ever stopped in, then you certainly would not be able to miss her irresistible smile. She is a breath of fresh air.

Recently, Sallie received news from her doctors that she has breast cancer. Being a positive spirit and holding tightly to her faith, Sallie is determined to fight back against this disease. Her family and friends have rallied behind her each step of the way.

A group of friends from the public safety community organized an unforgettable event. They invited Pink Heals Southwest Florida to come to LaBelle to offer Sallie support and show her just how much she means to everyone. As sirens blared, the pink fire truck rolled into the courthouse’s parking lot after being escorted down Main Street from the LaBelle Volunteer Fire Department by fellow public safety members. Four volunteer firefighters, Keith Cortner, Ron McIntosh, Bobby Sarazen, and Dennis Fleming, all dressed in pink gear, hopped out of their truck and made their way to Sallie’s first floor office. The secret was finally out, and an outpouring of love was about to begin.

Tears fell. Hugs ensued. Joyous laughter even erupted. Once emotions settled some, Hendry County Tax Collector Pat Langford announced that “$1,651 was raised through donations as well as from the sale of bracelets and rubber ducks.” He is proud of the community for all of their generosity and willingness to help one of their own. Sallie Brown was completely humbled by the gestures of love, support and kindness.

The firefighters then escorted Sallie outside where she was asked to sign their fire truck. After several minutes of searching for just the right spot, she humbly wrote “Thanks so much for all the support. – Sallie Brown.” The firefighters then accompanied Sallie back to her office where she could regroup from the morning’s event.

The Pink Heals Southwest Florida Chapter is a non-profit organization consisting of a special group of volunteers who drive pink fire trucks and wear pink uniforms in an effort to provide love and hope for those battling cancer. This group knows that illness does not discriminate.

According to the Pink Heals website, “men, women and children are fighting illness and this symbol of hope will travel to show them that they are not alone. We hope to inspire communities and empower their leaders to support the women of their community and ‘Care Enough To Wear Pink.”

Pink Heals South West Florida will bring their pink truck to help raise money and awareness at events for individuals or other non-profit organizations that help women and their families who are fighting cancer. They do this at no charge to the individual or organization. They only ask that all money raised remains in the community and does not support corporate entities. This organization will visit people at their home or care facility to show them love and support as well.

During these events, Pink Heals accepts donations and sells t-shirts to assist with the cost of fuel and maintenance for the fire trucks. No one in the Pink Heals organization receives personal funds or salaries. This is a completely voluntary service.

Dave Graybill, founder of Pink Heals wrote that “this program is about our community, our family, our neighbors and our leaders and how it will help bring us back together to focus on our own people now, rather than on promises that were never kept, opportunities that were lost, and things that might have been. Pink will heal as long as we do it in service to our women and what they mean to us in our communities, not just because they are sick or stricken with cancer. Because if we use illness as the sole motivation for action, once the sickness is gone, so is our cause for coming together.”

For more information about Pink Heals of Southwest Florida, please contact founding board member Keith Cortner at 239-280-8027 or keith@pinkhealsswfl.org. You can also visit their website at www.PinkHealsSWFL.org.