SALUTE TO “PAINT THE TOWN PINK” VOLUNTEER #1, SALLY HARRIS
As another pink-tastic month of Paint the Town Pink comes to a close one of the original volunteer organizers of the campaign will be honored for her countless hours of work.
Eight years ago, Ocean Grove resident Sally Harris, recovering from breast cancer was one of the first “in line” ready to help with a new mammogram awareness initiative being planned for Red Bank.
Seven years later from Paint the Town Pink’s launch in 2006, the initiative has taken over 24 cities and raised money for hundreds of mammograms for the uninsured.
Pink lines on streets, ribbons everywhere, businesses with pink window displays, “pink your ride” decals and so much more is around because of Sally Harris’ unending passion and dynamic personality.
As Harris is honored at the Paint the Town Pink gala event at the Navesink Country Club, next week, I spoke with Meridian Health’s Tria Deibert. [more below]
TBP: Why is Harris being honored this year by the Care to Give Council?
Deibert: I met Sally eight years ago when she was on the road to recovery. When we decided to launch Paint the Town Pink, I reached out to her. Sally was Volunteer Number One for this initiative. She takes this effort to heart as well as to the community. A mammogram saved her life, so she is really, really passionate.
Her work for Paint the Town Pink comes from a personal place. Sally does not just do this – she does not just go through the motions – she has taken this to another level. When it launched in Red Bank she was just as passionate as she is today. She is even more passionate today, actually.
TBP: Sally is magical. She draws you in to what she is passionate about.
Deibert: Sally is a leader. Over the years, she has dedicated at the very least three months of her life to the cause. No one can quantify how many lives she has impacted by encouraging women to make mammograms a priority.
This year, she and Valerie Trembly (The Coaster, April 25, 2013) shared the work to launch Paint the Town Pink in Ocean Grove. Neptune has exploded pink in its first year thanks to both of these ladies. The way the initiative has taken shape is wonderful. Sally is already talking about what she can do differently for 2014.
TBP: Finally, I thought the best way to honor Sally and her work would be to close this piece with her husband Norm’s thoughts about his wife.
Harris: She came out of nowhere and stopped me cold in my tracks when we met on August 7, 1992. I can’t even remember what was so important in my life before that instant in time. But I know everything, every moment since that time.
It was like two halves of a person wandering around, not paying attention to anything in particular. We were two halves who came together to make one whole person. Even our kids knew something significant had happened. We found our soul mate. Every day with Sally is like discovering life all over again.