Pink transforms Capitol fountain, pickup truck

October has become a month painted pink to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Day One welcomed a Pennsylvania tradition and a pickup truck hauling hope.

Spouting 60 feet high, salmon-colored water swam through the pumps of the state Capitol fountain to kickoff Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Everything around the Capitol was a rosy hue, from a pink flamingo mascot to a true bulldog in pink, Pat Halpin-Murphy, president and founder of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.

Halpin-Murphy has led the charge behind legislation to promote breast cancer health and awareness, including dense breast tissue notification following mammograms.

On Wednesday, she and others reminded women not only to wear pink throughout October, but to act.

She said 37 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day in Pennsylvania. Halpin-Murphy said this is the true message behind the pink.

General Services Secretary Sherri Phillips is in charge of turning the fountain pink. For her, this is more than a tradition in its ninth year.

“My sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said.

Phillips said her sister has been in remission seven years since her battle. She decided to honor her sister’s strong spirit with stripes.

“For everybody that has known someone who is a survivor, who has lost their battle with cancer, to do a pink stripe in their hair to honor those folks and support Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” Phillips said.

From stripes to signatures, Mike Tischbien is driven to haul hope on his pickup truck. The 29-year-old Millersburg man bought a 1981 Volkswagen, painted it white, and turned the four-wheels into a rolling memorial and fundraiser.

For a small donation, people can sign his truck with all proceeds going to the Feel Your Boobies campaign.

Tischbien said his idea became more powerful than he ever intended. Every signature inked on his truck adds to a mural of memories.

Tischbien said one woman who inked “Pepper” on the hood of his truck did so for a friend in an emotional moment.

“She was actually in tears, telling me this story and crying about it,” he said. “That’s happened more than once.”

So far, he has raised more than $1,100. The truck is seemingly covered in bright Sharpie-stained names, but Tischbien showed his true colors like any optimist.

“I would say she’s about half-full,” he said. “I’d like to get her completely covered with a little white as possible. Then, I want to go over it with a clear coat to make everything permanent.”

There’s no telling how long the truck will last, but the young man has been given a truckload of inspiration to last a lifetime.

“I’m just humbled every day,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous experience.”

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