WAYNE, Mich. - The symbol, a pink vest. The reason, to support breast cancer awareness. The result, a challenge that led to the generosity of Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) employee donations doubling, twice.
A few weeks ago Lori Halse and Pam Swope, started wearing pink vests to show their support for breast cancer awareness. After seeing them, more and more people wanted one, so Halse ordered more. Team Leader John Watson saw the pink vests and called Halse to ask where his was at? Watson received his vest, but only wore it a couple of hours.
Team Leader Chris Yates came up with an idea to raise money to get Watson to wear the pink vest for longer than a couple of hours. The challenge was if $150 was collected he would wear the vest for a day, but if $200 was collected, Watson would have his picture taken in the vest and it would be placed on the monitors throughout the entire site.
Watson accepted the challenge and within two weeks, $1,100 had been raised. It started with salaried employees and soon everyone, both salary and hourly employees , was pitching in.
“Everybody participated; it was just so heart felt for me because I met so many people that were affected by breast cancer,” said Halse.
The decision was made that all the money would be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research. The choice was made to honor recent Ford retiree and Body Shop Team member Diana Arter is a breast cancer survivor and current Process Coach Pam Sansotta recently lost her mother to the disease.
Arter worked at Ford Motor Company for 21 years before her retirement in January 2014. Several years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and is now a five-year survivor. Her story is one of success but also one of heartbreak. After successfully battling breast cancer, 15 months ago she was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer. The new diagnosis led to her retirement from Ford.
Every Friday Arter travels to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for treatment to beat cancer again.
“I beat it once and I will beat it again.” Arter said. As for co-workers raising money for a cure, she replied “I think it’s just awesome.”
Sansotta lost her mother to cancer in November 2013. She still finds it difficult to deal with the loss of her mom.
When asked how she is coping, “I can’t describe how it feels,” she said. Sansotta thought the challenge was a great show of support from her MAP family. “It makes me feel good” and “I hope there’s a cure for all mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters and aunts someday,” she said.
Cancer is a horrible disease that has probably touched each of us in one way or another in our life. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, extended family and friends, someone has dealt with or knows someone affected by cancer. Cancer does not discriminate based on age, gender or race. In reality, not a single one of us is immune. However, each and every one of us does have a way to help find a cure and that is exactly what members of the MAP Body Shop Team did.
Swope summed up the reason for the challenge best in saying “Cancer is a very difficult subject; it affects everyone in some way and discriminates against no one.”
After hearing of the challenge, a Skilled Trades employee who wishes to remain anonymous, matched the $1,100 to bring the new total to $2,200. Then ISA UAW Chairman Mike Stockdale matched that, making the total raised by the MAP Body Team $4,400.
“This just goes to show how everyone can make a difference and support in a variety ways to find a cure,” said MAP Site Manager Philip Calhoun.