Herald pink for breast cancer

ALBANY, Ga. -- Readers of this publication may notice something a little different about today's edition.

As announced in The Albany Herald's Sept. 22 edition, the newspaper has been printed on pink paper today in recognition of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"This is a once-a-year opportunity that we can kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month," said Albany Herald General Manager John Hetzler.

A percentage of the advertising revenue generated from today's paper will be given to the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition. The publication's website, www.albanyherald.com, also has a pink background.

The pink paper won't be utilized too often as the pink stock is more expensive than what The Herald usually uses, but the extra cost is worth it, Hetzler said.

"If it saves one life, it's worth the extra expense," he said.

Since the Sept. 22 story ran, there have been four comments posted on The Herald's website in support of the idea.

"The Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition helped my mama get checked for cancer," one comment reads. "We are very thankful for that. They are a good cause to help because they help people right here. Thank you."

"I thought that was heartwarming to see," Hetzler said of the comments. "That alone puts chills up my spine."

There have been others who have supported the idea, said Cancer Coalition CEO Diane Fletcher.

"At a meeting today (Wednesday), one of the (coalition) staff members said a local teacher saw the story and thought it was a good idea," Fletcher said in a phone interview.

"Individuals have told us they are excited about it. The response seems to be very positive."

Fletcher herself found it difficult to contain her excitement the day before the pink edition was due to be printed.

"It's a very creative way to raise awareness," she said. "Printing the paper on a different color will attract attention; it will draw attention to awareness. It helps people understand that we are here.

"The first step to fighting cancer is for individuals to be aware of the various cancers and what can be done. (Breast cancer) does virtually touch every family in some way; it's personal to a lot of people. The best thing we can do is make people aware. The coalition is very grateful for this effort."

All of the money donated to the coalition stays in the area specifically for Southwest Georgia cancer patients.

The Herald conducted a similar campaign in December 2009 when the publication was printed on peach-colored paper to help raise funds for United Way of Southwest Georgia. This resulted in the publication eventually making a $5,000 donation to the organization.

"We hope to do better than last year, but that is not what this is about," Hetzler said. "We can reach more people than almost any other medium. If we can do this, it would be irresponsible not to."

The American Cancer Society is estimating that there will be 192,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in the United States this year. Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death for women in the country.

In Dougherty County, more than a dozen deaths occur annually due to the disease.

For more information on the coalition, visit www.swgacancer.org.