Oneida County government employees supporting breast cancer awareness

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With October being breast cancer awareness month, Oneida County government employees look to again support breast cancer awareness activities.

“Oneida County employees have a long history of participating in and supporting Breast Cancer Awareness. During the month of October, we light the County Office Building pink – and for a few years all the windows had giant pink awareness ribbons. Dress down days – a $5 donation to wear jeans on Fridays in October - have been a great source of employee contributions to the American Cancer Society,” notes a statement from the county’s Employee Wellness Program.

What’s more, county Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. has participated in the American Cancer Society Real Men Wear Pink campaign in recent years, raising thousands of dollars.

The Health Department’s Cancer Services Program coordinated the annual Human Pink Ribbon for several years at Murnane Field in Utica, in partnership with Mohawk Valley Health System and the American Cancer Society. 

Breast cancer survivors and community members wore pink and formed a giant pink ribbon. One year, pink towels to wave were distributed. 

In 2017 Oneida County’s new Employee Wellness Program developed a Lunch Hour Walk for breast cancer awareness. Volunteer drivers transported the group to Murnane Field and, after the photo op, most participants briskly walked 1.6 miles back to the County Office Building. Employees from other sites met us at Murnane Field, as well as a few OC retirees. 

This tradition continued in 2018 and 2019, with a total of 54 participants over the three years. Wellness walks always include a certificate of participation – many employees proudly post walk certificates in their offices or cubicles.

In 2020 because of COVID, county employees held a socially-distant Wear Pink Walk in October and wore masks. 

This walk had 33 participants, our largest group walk ever – and we even had a dog walk with us, too. 

The Wellness Program dreamed of giving county employees who are breast cancer survivors something to recognize them. A daughter of a Health Department employee crocheted grey infinity scarves with a bright pink ribbon (and matching hats). Scarves were distributed to employee survivors at the 2020 walk.

This year’s Wear Pink Walk is planned for Friday, Oct. 8, at the Utica County Office Building. 

Employee survivors will receive an adorable crocheted doll with the pink ribbon.

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