50 Shades of Pink Pumpkins: Library event promotes breast cancer awareness

Move over orange; it’s time for a pink takeover this October.

The month that’s most commonly associated with Halloween and the change in foliage has become a springboard for breast cancer awareness, and the Trumbull Library wants residents to pay attention and learn how to practice good breast health.

That’s why the library is hosting the first annual 50 Shades of Pink Pumpkins event, in partnership with Bridgeport Hospital’s Norma F. Pfreim Breast Cancer Center, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22.

“It’s a really cool display that I think will get people thinking about breast cancer — it will jar the mind and get people to acknowledge this disease and have open conversation about it and the people it affects each and every year,” said Jackie Carlino, the Trumbull Library System’s project coordinator.

“I think it’ll be a positive event for the entire community, and it’s a fun way to acknowledge and learn about breast cancer,” she added.

Carlino, who said she started planning this project more than six months ago, used a brush to paint all 50 pumpkins — a task that took her more than three hours to complete.

Next year, she wants to have the community pitch in during the painting process.

For the first annual event, though, the first 50 registrants will received a complimentary pink pumpkin that they can display at home — something Carlino hopes catches on around Trumbull’s various neighborhoods.

“Our residents look to the library as a meeting place, so it was only natural for us to come up with a way to let people meet during October to celebrate good breast health,” she said. “We plan to make 50 Shades of Pink Pumpkins an annual event and encourage Trumbull residents to display pink pumpkins as a way to promote October as breast cancer awareness month.”

As with any first-time event, Carlino admitted, there’s been a bit of a learning curve.

“Obviously it’s a play on the book, 50 Shades of Grey, but every pumpkin that’s displayed is a bit different and I think that makes it very personal,” she explained. “Painting all of them was messy, but it actually didn’t take as long as I originally thought.

“I didn’t want to have people there all day,” she added. “But now I know how to do it without there being too much of a mess and without it taking too long — the best method is definitely using a brush and not spray painting.”

Now that the method has been established, people can grab a brush and paint a pink pumpkin when October rolls around in 2016.

“It’s the first year, so we didn’t know what to expect,” Carlino said. “We’ve never done something of this magnitude for breast cancer awareness month — this is a very conscious effort to get a lot of people involved.”

In addition to the 50 pink pumpkins on display in the library’s lobby, the free event will include pink-colored refreshments, an area to take photos with the pink pumpkins, and a talk with Nancy Church, the breast care center’s community education coordinator.

“I always wanted to put on a major breast health event, and that’s why when I started six months ago, this was one of the first items I put on my agenda,” she said.

“And I think it’s something that will click with the community,” Carlino added. “I mean what’s there not to like about a pink pumpkin?

More information

To learn more about the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center’s corporate wellness programs or to schedule an information session for your group or company, call 203-255-5300 or email Nancy.Church@bpthosp.org.

Part of Bridgeport Hospital and Yale-New Haven Health System, the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center has served more than 20,000 women and their families since it was established in 1999. One of only 200 sites accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), the center provides a wide range of diagnostic care and treatment at its Bridgeport Hospital and Fairfield locations, including medical oncology, surgical and chemotherapy services, plastic surgery, mammography and radiation therapy, and genetic risk assessment, as well as opportunities to participate in clinical trials.

The breast care center office at 111 Beach Road in Fairfield also provides comprehensive women’s wellness services, including nutrition counseling, massage and Reiki therapy, wig and prosthesis fitting, counseling, yoga, Pilates, naturopathic medicine, and other patient support activities. The center also has a satellite office on Park Avenue in Trumbull.