Paint the Town Pink draws record crowd |

Paint the Town Pink draws record crowd

Melissa Rhoden, an advertising representative for The Union, winced in anticipation as a hairstylist from Blondie’s Salon lifted a sharp pair of scissors to her long, wavy ponytail.

In a few snips, Rhoden’s hair was shoulder length, the rest of her brown tresses on their way to Locks of Love, a nonprofit that uses donations of real hair to make wigs for people with cancer.

Seven women traded their long hair for free haircuts from the Grass Valley salon at Thursday night’s 4th Annual Paint the Town Pink, a fundraiser for local breast cancer care co-sponsored by The Union and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

About 600 people came, and a final count on how much money was raised will be released in about a week.

“This was by far the biggest we’ve had,” said organizer Tara Walters. “There are so many people whose faces we see here every year.”

Proceeds from the event will buy a single-insertion biopsy device for the hospital’s breast imaging center. The $14,000 handheld device allows hospital personnel to take a biopsy of the breast with a single insertion of the needle; standard biopsies require 3 to 5 painful insertions.

“There will be less breast trauma,” said Linda Waring, lead technician at the breast imaging center.

The only other hospital in California that has the technology is UC Davis Medical Center, Waring said. While other hospitals want the device, tight budgets have kept it out of reach.

Community support through events like Thursday’s help Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital stay ahead of the curve in breast cancer care.

A few dozen vendors came to the event at the fairgrounds’ main building, including Sam’s Beauty Supply and Salon, which had wigs on display. Some were funky, neon-colored bobs, while others were natural-looking hairstyles the Grass Valley business sells to women coping with chemotherapy.

“They come in under so much pressure,” said owner Sam Whittle. “But we laugh. And they try on everything we have.”

Hundreds of pink-shirted attendees nibbled hors d’oeuvres and sipped wine. Others took in the fashion show from Troupe de Trash, which converts everyday household waste into elaborate costumes.

The show was a hit, especially for Grass Valley resident Lucinda deLorimier, whose neighbor, co-workers and aunt have all battled breast cancer.

“It’s good to give them support,” deLorimier said. “This is a great event. It’s so cool our community does this.”

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.


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