“PAINT THE TOWN PINK” CAMPAIGN COMES TO AREA: WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW
For the first time, Ocean Grove will become “Pink Grove” and Asbury Park will become “Asbury Pink” in May. As well, you will see main streets with pink lines painted on them in “Pinktune,” “Pinktune Township” and “Pink by the Sea.”
Thanks to the hard work of local volunteers and Meridian Health, the mammogram awareness-building campaign that began in Red Bank seven years ago has come to our area.
Valerie Trembly, who had breast cancer more than a decade ago, has spearheaded the initiative to bring “Paint the Town Pink” to Ocean Grove, an area she has lived in full-time since 2006 and has been coming to since she began dating her husband Alan in the 1960’s. [more below]
I spoke with the inspiring, beautiful and passionate Trembly last week on the front porch of her house, which took her a full day to decorate the exterior with all things pink.
TBP: Why did you get involved with this initiative?
Trembly: My mom had breast cancer 35 years ago so I started getting mammograms earlier than most people. In 2001, my doctor found a tiny lesion which turned out to be Stage 1 breast cancer.
I was very, very lucky. I was saved a lot of pain, frustration, worry, illness, sadness and maybe even my life because of a mammogram. In my particular case no lump could be felt by me, my doctor or the breast surgeon. The only thing that showed the lesion was the mammogram.
And that is why I am so involved in this campaign – because it stresses the importance of getting annual mammograms and helps to raise money for women who cannot afford them.
I spoke with a woman recently who told me that her cancer progressed because she did not have the insurance or money to get regular mammograms. She wound up having a double mastectomy and going through chemotherapy. Today, she is very positive but her journey might have been shorter if she was able to address the issues earlier.
TBP: “Paint the Town Pink” is coming to our area for the first time.
Trembly: The campaign has expanded to 24 towns this year. I started with it seven years ago with my neighbor Sally Harris, who is really the Volunteer of the Century when it comes to this stuff.
The homeowners, businesses, Ocean Grove Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Randy Bishop have all been so wonderful in “pink-ticipating.” Century 21 Coastal, Melrose Inn, Cindy Nelson at Oliver Brothers Realty, Sotheby’s Realty, J&E Auto Body and Coastal Habitat’s ReStore are being especially great with their support.
Through the month of May, there are ways for everyone reading this to participate and help keep mammograms top-of-mind. From “pinking your car” – with “pink-up points” at Jersey Shore Arts Center, Century 21 Coastal and J&E Auto Body – to shopping at the local participating businesses to really great events big and small there are so many simple ways to help.
I am living proof that early detection avoids more invasive therapies and complications. I do not like the word “survivor.” I like to say I had breast cancer 12 years ago and now I am fine. It is the positive attitude that counts for a lot. I am grateful for the gifts in my life that I am able to help with “Paint the Town Pink” and ultimately help women and men in the area.
Much more information about participating businesses and local events at PaintTheTownPink.org.
For The Coaster and TheBPlot’s previous coverage of “Paint the Town Pink,” click here.