In 2006 while driving to school with his mother an 11 year old Lawrence Vourtzoumis heard an advertisement on the radio requesting volunteers to shave their heads as a demonstration of solidarity for those who had lost their hair due to chemo treatments for breast cancer. Lawrence was captivated by this idea and asked his mother, Denise if he could participate. He wanted to shave his head to show support. A pretty brave thing for an 11 year old to do. Denise agreed and helped Lawrence raise the required amount of money to be able to participate.
Lawrence’s first shave took place on the last day of the breast cancer awareness campaign very early in the morning before school started live on air at Fairview. His family, friends and elementary school teachers were all there to support him. Collections had been made throughout the classes in the school assuring that even the youngest students understood that they were helping someone! This key event provided the framework for what was to become Pink in the City. Lawrence had not only raised funds but he had successfully engaged an entire community to be aware of and concerned about breast cancer and its impact on its victims. He had made a difference. Just imagine if one little boy could do this what a dedicated group of people could do! That year with the help of the school and the community $2000 was raisedin a period of 10 days to donate to the Breast Cancer Foundation. This family quickly realized that they had a great opportunity to make a difference for breast cancer patients and knew that the story could not end here.
This was the first of many shaves for Lawrence and his brothers. The following year, the shave event took place at thehigh school Lawrence was attending. The auditorium was filled with 750 fellow students, teachers and parent volunteers, all cheering for Lawrence while live on air.
Lawrence and his brothers continued to support the cause of breast cancer through their high school years. The school community was always involved as it was important to model the importance of caring for their fellow students. The Vourtzoumis family wanted to share the joy and sense of empowerment that this type of involvement produces.
Over the years new initiatives were developed to interest and attract an ever broader range of volunteers and donors. Comedy nights, shopping experiences, Zumba nights, a sponsorship magazines and galas were added to the ever constant Raise Craze (shaving for the cause). This year a Tulip fund raiser was added to the roster. Along the way numerous dedicated volunteers have extended themselves to help out. Many have remained involved and dedicated to this cause and thus Pink in the City was born.
Today Pink in the City is a thriving volunteer organization that raises money annually to support breast cancer awareness and provide funds for equipment, research and services for breast cancer patients. A corps of over 40 committed volunteers assure that the organization’s goals are met to give the best possible support for breast cancer patients. Their fundraising activities are diverse and continue to include students and the community at large. Model the Way is a program that has been introduced into Laval schools to encourage student involvement and volunteerism.
Engaging and encouraging people of all ages to care and be empowered to make a difference is the true magic of Pink in the City.
And to think it all started with one little boy who had a wish!