The UF Cancer and Genetics Research Complex lawn became a sea of pink Saturday, covered with the glitter, sequins and feathers that adorned hand-painted pumpkins.
Hundreds of people attended Shands at UF’s first Pink Pumpkin Fest, which included events like a Pink Pumpkin Pedal-Off, Pink Pumpkin Painting Party and about 20 other exhibits aimed at raising money and awareness for breast cancer.
“They’ve made this event fun so that even kids can participate and start learning about it,” said Lisa Bynes, 37, after securing two feathers to the stem of her silver pumpkin.
Lindsey Wuest, a 21-year-old advertising senior and volunteer for Shands at UF’s Arts in Medicine program, said she felt the painted pumpkins would serve as a cute reminder of hope and healing.
Kelsey Tainsh wore a pink button displaying the words “FIGHT CURE WIN” in bold black letters. The 22-year-old recreation and event management senior said she is a two-time pediatric cancer survivor.
Doctors successfully removed a brain tumor from Tainsh when she was 5 years old, she said. The cancer came back when she was 15, but this time, she suffered a stroke. She said she had to learn how to walk and talk again, but she’s always been a believer.
When Tainsh decorated her pink pumpkin Saturday, she glued a large breast cancer ribbon in the center with two small silver stars. She attached colored letters, spelling out “I beat cancer twice.”
“Almost everyone in the world faces cancer, whether it’s directly or indirectly,” Tainsh said. “It’s great to see people unite in support of breast cancer [awareness] with Shands.”