Mercy Goes Pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Addison Speck, Reporter

People walk under the awning at Mercy Medical Center Thursday Sept. 30, 2010 after a lightning ceremony marking the arrival of national breast cancer awareness month. In order to raise awareness during October, Mercy is illuminating itself with pink lights for the entire month. (Becky Malewitz/ SourceMedia Group News)

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By Liz Blood

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Just before 8 p.m. on Thursday night, Mercy Medical Center lit up in pink lights, illuminating it's campus for a cause.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month,Mercy Medical Center and Alliant Energy teamed up to promote awareness and early detection.

Hundreds of people turned out Thursday night for the "Power of Pink" event outside the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center.

Mercy leaders and cancer survivor, Jan Swentkofske, talked to the crowd about the importance of fighting for a cure. "I didn't ever think I would get breast cancer and I did. One day I was sitting in chemo getting treatment and a light came on and I realized this is my niche. I needed to follow through with this because I am so very passionate about it," said Swentkofske.

The first floor of the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center lit up with pink lights and a giant pink ribbon shined on the building. For the month of October, the pink lights will be at the cancer center and Mercy's main entrances.

Alliant energy leaders encouraged people at the event to take home a free energy-saving pink light bulb. They told people to use them for their porch light to help spread awareness throughout their neighborhood.

But Mercy leaders along with Swentkofske hope the message won't stop after October is over. "I hope seeing the lights atMercy brings awareness to people. This is important and we have to keep going forward with it. It isn't something we do once and forget it, it's every year, all the time," said Swentkofske.

The event also offered people the opportunity to sign up for the annual "Especially for You" race against breast cancer. That race is on Sunday October 7th.

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