City of Lanett turns downtown water fountain pink to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month

Published 8:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2019

LANETT — The pink is flowing this month in Lanett’s downtown fountain.

The pink fountain is in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and honors the memory of those who have passed away from breast cancer and serves as an expression of hope and solidarity for those who are now dealing with breast cancer.

All of the lights in the bottom of the fountain’s 30-foot-wide bowl are pink and the water has been dyed that color.

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“The water will be pink throughout the month,” said Hunter Cook of Cook Tile Company in Valley. “It’s nontoxic and non-staining. We will refresh it a couple of times, but it will be pink through the month of October.”

Lanett Councilwoman Angelia Thomas was glad to see the celebration take place.

“All I can say to this is amen,” Thomas said. “Thank you, Dayle Cook and your sons for building this fountain. When I see water, I see life, even after cancer.”

Breast cancer survivors recognized during the program included Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart; State Rep. Debbie Wood; West Point Council Member Sandra Thornton; longtime VT-N columnist Pearlie Gibson and her two daughters, Team WHIP founder Narfunda Ross and Dr. Jatunn Gibson; Esther Bolt, Betsy King, Sonja Askew, Sonya Adams, Joyce Thomas and Barbara Dunn.

“The Pink Flows On” was the theme of the program. Mayor Kyle McCoy welcomed everyone to the event and talked about what the downtown fountain means and how causes such as breast cancer awareness fits into it.

“We want it to be a symbol of our city,” he said. “We will turn it pink this month. Everyone who drives past it will be reminded that this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

Narfunda Ross then talked about Team WHIP, which stands for Working to Help those In Pink.

“Who are we?” she asked. “We are a purpose-driven local team that calls attention to breast cancer and offers hope and encouragement to breast cancer survivors. We adopted the name Team WHIP in October 2015 to reflect our purpose to help those in pink.”

Ross quoted the well-known verse from the Book of Proverbs about charity beginning at home and cited the importance of continuing the fight against cancer.

“We support continuing research at the national level,” she said. “Our local focus is reach one to teach one. Since August 2016, Auburn University’s Gene Machine has been helping us do this.”

Ross’ sister and fellow Team WHIP member Dr. Jatunn Gibson discussed the Bosom Buddies concept. It’s a tool, she said, to help beat cancer.

“It’s important to have a bosom buddy, someone who will be beside you all the way, someone who will be there with you if you get bad news,” she said. “It’s a person who will know things about you (that) you won’t share with anyone else.”

Gibson said early detection is more than a phrase — it’s a necessity.

“Find a date on the calendar that resonates with you,” she said. “Go and get checked out that day. If you miss it for some reason, schedule another date. Have your bosom buddy, the person you confide in, with you when you get checked out. Your bosom buddy is a flashlight that lights the darkness.”

Audrey Bailey told the gathering she was pleased the new fountain was finished in time to go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“My mom lives just down the street, and I watched construction for a long time,” she said. “For a time, I was concerned it wouldn’t be finished before October, but it was and I am so glad. Thank you, City of Lanett, for a job well done, and thank you for lighting the fountain for Breast Cancer Month.”

Mary Thomas spoke on the enduring hope of beating cancer.

“With the Lord,” she said, “there’s always hope.”

Among those witnessing the fountain going pink were Police Chief Johnny Wood, Fire & EMS Chief Johnny Allen, West Point Council Member Gloria Marshall, and a cross-section of townspeople.

Team WHIP will be having its fifth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month Walk on Saturday, Oct. 26 at John Hoggs Park in West Point. It is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Team WHIP members will also take part in a Think Pink Walk on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the new E.L. Spencer Jr. and Ruth Priester Spencer Cancer Center in Opelika.