By Crystal McGough, Editor
TRUSSVILLE – For 17 years, local businesses and organizations have come together to Turn Trussville Pink on the third Wednesday of every October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.
On Wednesday, Oct. 18., the city of Trussville will once again turn pink, with pink ribbons on business doorways and citizens donning their Turn Trussville Pink T-shirts in recognition, remembrance and solidarity in the ongoing battle against breast cancer.
Turn Trussville Pink started in 2006, at Hewitt-Trussville High School, as a way to honor two teachers who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Students showed their support by wearing pink T-shirts and fundraising for cancer research.
One of those teachers, Turn Trussville Pink co-founder Kathy White, was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. After a 15-year remission, White was re-diagnosed in 2016 and lost her battle in August 2018.
“She really was the person behind Turn Trussville Pink,” White’s son Joshua told The Tribune in 2018. “She was never one for the spotlight, but I think Turn Trussville Pink exists because of her. Because of her enthusiasm and her work.”
Over the years, the annual fundraiser event has moved from a Hewitt-Trussville High School event to a city-wide event, even being officially recognized by the Trussville City Council with a proclamation.
During the October 10 meeting of the city council, Councilor Alan Taylor read this year’s proclamation, stating, in part, “… we stand with our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends every October for National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and we recognize all who have joined their loved ones in fighting their battle as well as the advocates, researchers, and health care providers, whose care and hard work gives hope to those living with breast cancer; and whereas, educating ourselves and supporting innovative research, we will improve the quality of life for all Americans affected by breast cancer, and, one day, defeat this terrible disease … we, the Mayor and City Council of Trussville, Alabama do hereby proclaim October 18, 2023, as Turn Trussville Pink Day.”
This year’s 2023 Turn Trussville Pink T-shirts have been sold for the last month at three Trussville businesses: Tula J Boutique, Nona Ruth’s, and Caroline and Company. Other businesses, such as Shirley’s Florist, also contributed by making and selling pink ribbons to be put on doors and mailboxes. All proceeds from Turn Trussville Pink go directly to UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, where White sought her treatment.
“We have used the store as an avenue to help sell the shirts and raise funds,” Tula J owner Ashley Posey said, adding that the T-shirts are completely sold out except for a handful of youth sizes. “We would really love for it to get back to the way Mrs. Kathy did it: the night before, they would meet and turn Trussville pink. They would decorate the town with bows and all kind of stuff. It was always nice to wake up on Wednesday morning to Turn Trussville Pink.”
Bringing back that tradition, several local businesses, along with the HTHS Service Association, have planned to meet at Nona Ruth’s on Tuesday night, Oct. 17, to Turn Trussville Pink overnight. Fox’s Pizza Den even donated pizza for the occasion and It’s A Party put together a balloon display to be placed at the Trussville Rotary Clock at the intersection of Chalkville Road and Highway 11.
“It just goes to show, when people come together, businesses come together, small communities come together, what we can do,” Posey said. “We’ve been trying to get our businesses more involved in supporting this and we’ve had a great turnout this year. I think it’s something we’re going to grow on every year and it’s going to get back to where it used to be when Mrs. White was here.”
Overall, 350 bows will be placed throughout Trussville, in addition to pink flags and other displays.
Turn Trussville Pink sponsors include: Nona Ruth’s, It’s A Party, Bearden Delivery Service, Tula J, DeDe’s Book Rack, Shirley’s Florist, Fox’s Pizza Den, Cahaba Dental, Caroline and Company, Wildgoose Garden, Printcorp, The Varsity, and Urban Air.