Group looks to raise awareness about breast cancer with pink chairs

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) There’s a one in 8 chance the average American woman will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

A group in Greenville is trying to bring awareness to that statistic during the month of October with the Empty Pink Chair Project.

Jessica Albea, the owner of Fresh Vibes, has seen the effects of breast cancer first-hand when a customer turned friend was diagnosed.

“That really touched my heart and I wanted to support other people like her in their journey,” said Albea. “Seeing how we could make a difference in her life…we could do that for others as well.”

That’s why she decided to participate in the Empty Pink Chair Project.

“The pink chair represents a chair that could have been filled by a loved one who may have lost the battle with breast cancer, and our goal here is to keep the chairs full,” said Bruce Shroeder, Medical Director at Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists.

The money they’re raising goes to the Pretty in Pink Foundation.

It’s a group helping uninsured women diagnosed with breast cancer pay their medical bills.

“We’ve witnessed family members and loved ones who had a medical crisis come up, and they didn’t have insurance so medical bills piled up,” said Albea. “We can really help with the stress of that, and when you have a cancer diagnosis the last thing you need is stress.”

The fundraiser caught on fast.

“I’ve been in several businesses in town in the past couple of weeks, and I see the pink chair and it’s awesome. You see, oh that means something,” said Schroeder.

Over 30 hot pink chairs have found new homes in storefronts and offices across the east.

“The businesses have been fantastic. We had a minimum donation of $100 and most of them have done much, much more than that,” said Shroeder.

While they’ve raised over $7,000 so far, Schroeder said the main goal is to put the importance of early screening in the front of everyone’s minds.

“If you see a pink chair, think about yourself first and say hey have I gotten my mammogram? Then think about a friend, think about a loved one, think about the women at your church,” said Schroeder.

Folks at Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists told WNCT that while they don’t have any more pink chairs left, businesses are welcome to reach out to them to get more information on how to be involved next year.

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