J.U.G.S. to paint the town pink to help breast cancer patients

Molly Johanson

On Friday, Sept. 24 from noon to 6 p.m., the streets of First and Main will turn pink. There will be pink hair extensions, pink cotton candy, pink fingernail painting, a pink pony ride and a girl band called Lady Jugs and the Push-ups. It’s not quite a pink invasion; it’s an event called Paint the Town Pink.

All the activities featured at the party play into the theme of J.U.G.S. (Just Us Girls Sharing), which is raising money for the Cancer Special Needs Fund, a breast cancer fund at St. Mary’s Medical Center. According to the St. Mary’s website, this fund “helps cancer patients and their families through random acts of kindness.”

“It’s a diverse fund for diverse needs,” said Amy Voires, founder and president of J.U.G.S. “And the money stays local so you can really see the difference it makes.”

J.U.G.S. was originally created by Voires when she noticed that many of her salon clients had breast cancer. In the beginning she offered pink hair extensions as a way to raise awareness.

“Everyone in the community is affected by cancer one way or the other,” added Traci Jansen, vice president and treasurer of J.U.G.S. and a cancer survivor herself.

In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, 13 percent of women born in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

The community group has been raising money unofficially for about five years, but in November 2009 they gained 501c3 nonprofit status. Previously they raised funds for other organizations, but now they can control where the money goes–which for J.U.G.S. is 100 percent back into the community.

As a result of this new status, 2010 will mark the first year that the Paint the Town Pink Party will be celebrated on the streets of Walla Walla.

The event isn’t put on by members J.U.G.S. alone. The organization is receiving substantial support from individual and corporate donors, including businesses such as Walla Walla Cruisers, Restoration Specialists, L.L.C. and Voires’ salon, Four Feathered Sparrow.

To help the cause, A Stone’s Throw CafĂ© will be selling specialty drinks through the month of October, starting Friday, Sept. 24. 100 percent of the proceeds from drinks such as the Busty Latte will go directly to J.U.G.S.

“I like to be able to help,” said owner Aaron Leen. “It’s a great cause.”

Voires and Jansen expressed a desire for Whitman students to get involved in the organization as well.

“The Paint the Town Pink Party is about celebrating women,” Voires said.

“And,” added Jensen, “survivorship.”

For more information about the event or J.U.G.S., visit www.just-us-girls-sharing.org.