CCA Thinks Pink

Facilities across the company show their support for breast cancer awareness in October

Byline: By Charlotte Higgins

Subtitle: Facilities across the company show their support for breast cancer awareness in October

News Category: General News

This month, staff at CCA Adams County Correctional Center in Natchez, Miss., pulled out the pink to show support for breast cancer research and awareness.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and employees at Adams couldn't wait to further the cause.

Kayla Wactor's grandmother

Kayla Wactor, quality assurance coordinator at Adams, was especially enthusiastic about participating in the activities the facility hosted. Wactor and her family have always been strong supporters of cancer awareness, but the cause is now much more personal since her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer – and survived.

Wactor has shared a close bond with her grandmother since childhood. Her grandmother watched her and her brother while her parents worked full-time jobs. When Wactor's daughter was born, her grandmother was eager to care for the child while Wactor and her husband worked.

Of course, once the cancer treatments started in November of 2011, Wactor's grandmother was not able to watch Wactor's daughter. Battling cancer was hard, and not being able to spend as much time with her great-granddaughter was unbearable.

Organizers of CCA Adams County Correctional Center's "Pink Friday." From left: Kayla Wactor, Tameka Moore, Johnny Guice, Emilee Beach, Nichelle Brown and Tangela Sullivan.

When Wactor's grandmother completed chemotherapy in early 2012, her first question took no one by surprise – she asked how long she would have to wait before she could resume caring for her great-granddaughter. By February 2012, Wactor's grandmother was back to keeping the little girl as often as she could.

"She's a fighter, and she decided early on that cancer was not going to defeat her," Wactor said. "She was ready to do whatever was needed to overcome the affliction and get back to living her life normally."

Beginning in October, Adams employees were given the opportunity to sponsor a balloon in honor of a person who battled cancer in any form for a one-dollar donation. On Oct. 17, which staff designated as "Pink Friday," employees were given pink stickers that read, "I wear pink in honor of" with space to write a name. The day was declared "casual for a cause" since staff members were encouraged to wear pink shirts, and employees who made a five-dollar donation were allowed to wear jeans. The main event – a balloon release ceremony – took place around midmorning. Employees gathered in front of the facility watch their pink balloons rise high into the air.

"Pink Friday" balloon release ceremony at Adams

"It was an awesome ceremony," said Emilee Beach, quality assurance manager, facility reporter and public information officer at Adams, and an organizer for the event. "It was so moving to see so many balloons representing people affected by cancer. Staff coming together for such a great cause makes me so proud to be a part of the CCA family."

The events raised more than $400, which was donated to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

Other CCA facilities held activities in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, too. Some facilities, including Coffee Correctional Facility, Florence Correctional Center, Houston Processing Center and Red Rock Correctional Center, encouraged employees to wear pink to show their support of the cause. Staff at CCA Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility and CCA North Fork Correctional Facility participated in local walks to raise money for cancer research. In addition, Metro staff have hosted a variety of activities since February, including giveaways, contests and food sales, to raise funds for breast cancer research.

How did your facility show support for breast cancer awareness in October? What does breast cancer awareness mean to you? Share your story by posting a comment.

More CCA News

The Source of the Stories

All in the Same Boat

4 Helpful Resources for Life's Toughest Times

Feature on Homepage: Yes

Blog Post Feature Level: Second Level