Army of Pink Raise Awareness to Fight Breast Cancer

Aimee Yeghiayan Beck, Staff Writer

Glendale Adventist Medical Center has once again kicked off its Army of Pink campaign to increase awareness about breast cancer. This year, six prominent community members will wear pink and speak out to increase awareness of early breast cancer prevention.

Army of Pink is a biennial campaign that began in 2010.  In 2012, the event was headed by Paula Devine, a current Glendale City Council member. That year, deputy Police Chief and Glendale College adjunct faculty member Carl Povilaitis came out on top of the polls with more than 80,000 votes.

“Cancer is something that touches everyone,”  said Povilaitis. “The Army of Pink carries a serious message, but it is an opportunity to have a little bit of fun with the process.  It’s an opportunity to get out in the community to raise awareness on breast cancer.

“The election part really provides an excuse to be able to talk to just about anyone, including people you don’t know and that’s the important part.”

Povilaitis walked along Brand Boulevard during lunch and talked to anyone who had a few minutes to listen and also attended numerous events throughout Glendale.

Headed by Glendale Arts CEO Elissa Glickman, this year’s candidates are Hovnan Derderian, an archbishop for Western Diocese Armenian Church; Tim Feeley, a lieutenant in the Glendale Police Department; Greg Fish, a deputy chief in the Glendale Fire Department; Harlan Gibbs, a doctor for Glendale Adventist Emergency Department; Greg Krikorian, board president of the Glendale Unified School District; and Scott Ochoa, the city manager of Glendale.

The candidates engage in various activities to promote awareness, including attending community events and talking to people on streets to secure votes for themselves on the Glendale Adventist website. The votes show that the candidates actually went out and “lobbied,” raising awareness as they did so.

The winner will have  the Glendale Adventist Cancer Center lobby named after them for the next two years and will also receive a  pair of pink boxing gloves adorned with the signatures of previous winners.  The main prize, however, is knowing they have helped increase awareness about breast cancer and early detection of the disease.

“All of the candidates are great people,” said Povilaitis.  “ I hope they have as much fun as I did spreading the word about breast cancer. No matter what the final elections results are, everyone is a winner in this process.  If the outreach saves one life through early detections, its all worth it.”

GAMC provides each candidate and their campaign managers with flyers, car magnets, cut outs, dog tags, business cards, breast cancer wristbands, videos and lapel pins all with their own images and messages.

“As a priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church, I feel that I have the moral obligation to be actively engaged in missions aimed at the betterment of human life,” said Derderian. “Army of Pink is a mission entrusted to us by God to raise awareness about cancer and educate people about how to take action.”

Ochoa is motivated by the women in his life to help find a cure for cancer.

“All of the women I care about — family, friends, co-workers — each impacts the balance of my life,” he said. “I cannot idly stand by when there is an opportunity to find a cure or advance treatment strategies against a disease that affects so many people who are so very important to me.

Ochoa would also like to help the community realize that breast cancer does not only affect women.

“As husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and friends, there is a very real interest and need for men to join the fight against breast cancer,” he said.  “By no means is this a women’s issue; it is a community issue, a family issue, a Glendale issue.”

Feeley is bringing back a trusted friend to help him with his campaign. His companion in the campaign is K9 Yudy, a German Shepherd that served in the Glendale Police Department for nine years before she retired last year and moved in with Feely, his wife, and the department’s new K9 Jager.

“She made a name for herself at GPD by finding bad guys and seizing narcotics and now it is time for her to help us ‘Detect and Protect’ the community against cancer,” he said.

The campaign will end with a comedy night, “Laugh 4 A Cause,” hosted by the GAMC Cancer Care Guild benefiting the Cancer Center at GAMC and support groups.

The event will take place at the Alex Theater on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. The comedians performing are Vahik Pirhamzei and K-von.

Voting polls will remain open until Oct. 26 at Voters are encouraged to vote for the candidate that best supports the message of the campaign.