“Pink Pearls on the Run”

My name is Ramona Kelloway and I am proud to call myself a Pink Pearl.

The Pink Pearls is a group of Eastern Health employees, working mostly in community health and mostly at Mount Pearl Square. We came together four years ago to create a team-building atmosphere.

But what started as a team building effort for us as co-workers has grown into a valuable charitable effort that allows our team to give back to the community in support of health-related causes.
In 2011, our group decided to participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure. We paid the entry fee and then raised an extra $900 to donate to the cause. In 2012, we entered the run again and decided we need a catchy name for the team.

Author Ramona Kelloway, centre, with several enthusiastic members of the Pink Pearls

Author Ramona Kelloway, centre, with several enthusiastic members of the Pink Pearls

In response to an email call for suggestions, Flora Brushett, manager of Public Health at the time, came up with the name Pink Pearls. Pink because it is the official color associated with The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and Pearls because we were all employees at Mount Pearl Square!

The name stuck – and to date, we have raised more than $20,000 to fight breast cancer!

That number represents a tremendous team effort over the past couple of years. Letters were distributed to local businesses and appeals sent to friends to sponsor members for the run.

Our $3,000 quilt!

Our $3,000 quilt!

In 2013, the mother of one of the team’s members donated a homemade quilt. The team sold tickets and raised more than $3,000 on this venture alone.

Along with numerous bake sales, yard sales, online auctions, product fundraisers, more than $11,000 was raised in 2013 alone, and earned us the CIBC’s Friends and Family Award for highest donated funds for that year!

Our creative fundraising continued in 2014. In June, a couple of team members organized a fundraiser which they called Dressed for the Cure. It was an online auction for slightly used dresses and was a tremendous success, raising almost $1,600.

The team has been recognized for their efforts in various other ways, as well:

  • we won the Nursing Gala award in 2012-2013 for Healthy People, Healthy Communities;
  • were nominated for the 2013 CEO awards of Excellence; and

in 2014, we were recognized through Eastern Health’s Professional Practice committee as Healthy Workplace Champions

In 2014, the Pink Pearls expanded our horizons. During the first week of December, a bake sale raised $550 to donate to the Iris Kirby House Christmas fund. In 2015, the team hopes to be able to expand our support to other charities throughout the year.

Pink Pearls bake sale for Iris Kirby House

Pink Pearls bake sale for Iris Kirby House

Meanwhile, our efforts are ongoing with Run for the Cure. The support is amazing!

Breast cancer pink ribbon cake

Breast cancer pink ribbon cake

The Pink Pearls reflects the essence of both team-building and giving back to the community. Each member of the team contributes to the overall effort. As members of a healthcare organization, we see not only the need regarding many health issues, but also the value in setting a proactive example ourselves.

It appears the Pink Pearls will be running for any number of worthwhile causes for some time to come!

This story was written by Ramona Kelloway, a Public Health nurse, based at Mount Pearl Square.

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