DEARBORN - Each October, in honor of breast cancer awareness month, Ford’s breast cancer awareness and fundraising campaign Warriors in Pink uses Ford ad space on the inside cover of Automotive News to draw attention to the cause. This year the ad is especially meaningful as all the survivors feature in the ad are Ford employees or retirees. Emphasizing even more why, for Warriors in Pink, every month is breast cancer awareness month because it affects our Ford family and too many others and it doesn’t take any days off.
The photo shoot for the ad took place in the east lobby of World Headquarters and the energy during the shoot could be described as celebration-like. Warriors in Pink gear including hoodies, scarves, totes and even pajama pants were provided to the photo shoot participants. Each model was outfitted by a professional stylist and allowed to take home the items they wore.
For Jackie Marshall Dimarco, chief engineer on F-150 and Expedition, participating in the photo shoot felt like a celebration.
Dimarco, who had always been a supporter of the breast cancer cause, found herself face-to-face with the disease at a very unique time in her life. In 2007, the Warriors in Pink team presented the idea of developing a special edition Warriors in Pink Mustang. At that time, Dimarco was on the Mustang team.
“It was just so different,” Dimarco said. “We talked all the time on Mustang about doing special editions for things like Bullet or Boss and a lot of things around power and appearance, this was just so different it really struck the team and we all thought it was a great tie in because Mustang is the most personalized vehicle in the world and this was for a really personal cause.”
It was while working on this project Dimarco learned of her own breast cancer diagnosis.
“I was running at full steam at that time, my twins were three years old, I had a full time plus career and we had just built a house – life was moving and it (the diagnosis) really stops you in your tracks,” Dimarco said.
For Dimarco six months of treatment rendered her cancer-free once again, but that experience will never be forgotten. “I don’t stress about the little things so much anymore, you just kind of have a feeling that today you are living and breathing cancer free, things could always be worse,” Dimarco said.
The fact that she was involved in the Warriors in Pink Mustang design and launch while she battled cancer made Dimarco’s experience unique. “We were just in the process of launching the Warriors in Pink Mustang and suddenly it became a very emotional time for me personally … I was very proud that we were working on the project and that Ford was investing in breast cancer research and it all just kind of came together when it did.”
For some of the survivors participating in the photo shoot, their breast cancer experience was much more recent than Dimarco’s. Linda Pond, Ford senior business analyst, Human Resources and Finance, shared that her participation with Warriors in Pink began this year with Race for the Cure. Pond received her breast cancer diagnosis in April of 2012 and finished up her treatments for the disease in December of the same year.
When asked what her first response to the diagnosis was, Pond said, “After the initial ‘What?’ moment I told a few close friends and my family. Then I went home to figure out if I should fight quietly or shout at the top of my lungs.”
Pond decided to approach her cancer experience the same way she had always approached life in general - she decided to shout. “I asked everyone for only positive thoughts because I knew I was going to come out a survivor,” Pond said. “Throughout my journey I had the support of around 150 people who I updated on all my twists and turns, happy news and sad news. In return I was flooded with encouragement. I reconnected with old friends, made new friends and my support group continues to grow with my involvement in Warriors in Pink!”
Both Pond and Dimarco enjoy the sense of community participating in Warriors in Pink activities generate. Pond noted her involvement provides other benefits as well. “I am proud to be a part of a team that is helping to find a cure and fund improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer,” Pond said.
In the 19 years Ford has participated in the fight against breast cancer, more than $120 million has been dedicated to the cause, a significant chunk of that coming from Warriors in Pink apparel sales alone proving the positive and hopeful voice the campaign has brought to the cause has been well received.
It’s important to note that one hundred percent of net proceeds from apparel sales go to breast cancer charities including Susan G. Komen, the Dr. Susan Love research foundation, the Young Survival Coalition (for those diagnosed under the age of 35), and the Pink Fund which provides short term financial support to those in active treatment to help pay non-medical bills.
Lauren Crane, creative director and writer, Team Detroit, helped developed the Warriors in Pink name back in 2006 and couldn’t be more proud of Ford’s achievements. Today, Crane works on the Automotive News ads for Ford and draws great pride and warmth from participating in developing this ad each year. “I have over the years met so many survivors, and heard their stories,” Crane said. “As a writer I’m deeply moved by it and I feel it’s an honor to work on this project.”
You too can get involved in the Warriors in Pink community or support the cause by purchasing Warriors in Pink wear and gear at www.FordCares.com. Throughout the month of October, apparel also will be made available at Ford buildings, stay tuned for further details.