If you live in Southwest Minnesota, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the Tough Enough to Wear Pink truck driving around, whether it’s in a parade or just around town. Lockwood Motors has been incredibly generous in providing us with a new truck each year. If you’ve seen the truck in one of our local parades, there’s a good chance you’ll see Wendy Vierstraete at the wheel. Wendy is one of our nurses at Prairie Home Hospice and was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. She said she loves her job and as one way to support Prairie Home Hospice, Wendy is typically the first to sign up to drive in as many local parades as her schedule allows. When I sat down with her and asked her what Tough Enough to Wear Pink means to her, her passion and commitment was very apparent. Wendy said, “being a cancer survivor motivates her to bring awareness to as many people as she can.” She mentioned that some people seem oblivious when the ‘cancer cards’ are handed out at parades. She wants to scream at them “It’s real!” If she can encourage even one person to have a screening or cancer checkup, it’s worth it to her. She hopes that seeing a survivor behind the wheel reminds people that early detection is key. Wendy typically has an entourage consisting of her daughter, nieces and nephew walking alongside the truck in the parades. They appreciate all that Wendy has been through and think it’s fun to walk in the parades and hand out candy and information. Wendy figures that she has been in 30+ parades over the years. She even participated in parades the summer she was going through treatment. Now, THAT is passion and commitment!
One thing Wendy mentioned about the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign that most people don’t realize is that all monies raised from this campaign stay right here in our community. The campaign is not JUST about breast cancer, it includes all types of cancers. Also, anyone going through cancer (or their family or loved ones) can request an application for assistance at the Prairie Home Hospice office. These can be used to pay for raffle prizes, wigs, or pretty much anything the applicant feels would benefit the cancer patient.
You may also notice some of our local businesses support this campaign by purchasing T-shirts for their employees to wear. This campaign would not be possible without our wonderful sponsors, so we would like to give them a shout-out: AP Design, Bisbee Plumbing & Heating, Bladholm Construction, D&G Excavating, Henle Printing Company, Hess Concrete Inc, Lockwood Motors, Abra Auto Body/The Shine Center, Lyon County Fair/PRCA Rodeo, and Sundance Auto Repair.
The Tough Enough to Wear Pink truck will be at many local parades as well as the PRCA Rodeo this summer, so be sure to watch for it. If you’d like to show your support, please stop by or call our office and purchase a T-shirt, sweatshirt or quarter zip.