The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation will open this year’s Annual Bristol Fourth of July Celebration, the oldest Independence Day event in the nation. Pink is the internationally recognized color of breast cancer advocacy and awareness. For 2012, the usual red, white and blue of the American flag are going to have some accompaniment courtesy of The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation.
“Bristol County has a higher breast cancer mortality rate than any other county in the state,” said Gloria Gemma Foundation Executive Director Maria Gemma. “Bristol’s massive Fourth of July celebration is a real opportunity for us to let Rhode Islanders affected by breast cancer know they’re not alone.”
Gemma added, “We’re here to help.”
Bristol Fourth of July Committee General Chairman Dick Devault said, “We’re pleased to be partnering this year with The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. This is a mutually beneficial opportunity to raise funds for the Committee and the Foundation while educating the public about breast cancer.”
Devault continued: “We always do some advance fundraising ahead of the parade itself but this is the first year we’re doing so with a group as highly visible and widely respected as The Gloria Gemma Foundation.”
In addition to The Hope Bus, the 38-foot pink recreational vehicle that serves as The Foundation’s mobile resource unit, a pink fire truck, a pink ambulance, two pink police cars and an assortment of other pink-wrapped vehicles will escort a Garden of Hope float to draw attention to breast cancer, the third leading cause of death from cancer in Rhode Island.
“The Garden of Hope is an opportunity to celebrate survivors, encourage those currently battling breast cancer and remember those family members and friends who have sadly succumbed to this devastating disease,” Maria Gemma said.
Craig Marciniak, of Cumberland-based Tranquil Water Gardens, is overseeing The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation’s Garden of Hope float. In February, Marciniak and The Foundation won a People’s Choice Award for a similar collaboration at the 2012 Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show.
“The Fourth of July is the perfect opportunity to go out into the community and get our message out to a large audience,” Maria Gemma said and added, “Everyone knows someone whose life has been affected by breast cancer.”
About the Annual Bristol Fourth of July Celebration
The Annual Bristol Fourth of July Celebration began in 1785 when Rev. Henry Wright of the First Congregational Church, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, conducted the first Patriotic Exercises. These Exercises are observed each year on the morning of July 4th. It is not known exactly when the Parade started but it is thought that it evolved from the procession of community members walking to Patriotic Exercises. The Parade is believed to have begun in the early 1800s.
About the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation
The Gloria Gemma Foundation was established in 2004 in loving memory of Gloria J. Gemma and to honor her courageous fight against breast cancer. The organization’s mission is to raise breast cancer awareness; increase breast health education; enhance the quality of life for breast cancer patients, as well as their families and friends; and generate funding for local breast health programs. For more information, please call 401-861-HERO (4376) or visit www.gloriagemma.org.