FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Marion County Rescue Squad is raising money for breast cancer awareness using plastic flamingos.
The squad members have started an annual tradition of “flamingo flocking” other employees’ yards. How it works is a member of the squad pays $10 to have flamingos put in another employee’s yard of their choice. In order for that employee to get the flamingos removed from their yard, they must pay $10.
All the money is collected at the end of the month and goes to a national breast cancer research foundation.
“We want people to get screened, we want them to be aware this can be something that you catch early on that may be treatable,” Donna Wade, a Marion County Rescue Squad EMT said. “So, just to bring awareness to that is great.”
Stacy Martin, a paramedic at the Marion County Rescue Squad, is responsible for putting the flamingos on the lawn.
“We normally try and do it when someone’s not around. They’re not home, so when they come out, they’re shocked about it,” Martin said. “We normally put five flamingos and a sign that explains what it was.”
The squad also offers the option for employees to pay $20 for “flock insurance” to make sure their yard is off-limits.
Currently the squad only flamingo flock’s other employees’ yards but is considering expanding to businesses in the community in the future.
The idea was started for Jenny Shaver who passed away from breast cancer.
“In her memory, we have continued to send flocks of flamingoes to yards because each time Jenny left for an appointment her family and friends decorated her yard with flamingoes to boost her spirits. So, in memory of Jenny, we send flocks hoping to spread awareness about a cancer that affects 1 in 8 women, a cancer that’s the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the US and the first leading cause of cancer death among women globally,” rescue squad members wrote in a Facebook post.
Also in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the squad makes a weekly Breast Cancer Awareness Spotlight post on their Facebook account in the month of October.