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Truckin’ along in the pink

Pink is not the most traditional colour for a dump truck hauling gravel but it sure grabs peoples’ attention.

And that is exactly the point for St. Clements’ Rick Esbaugh, who recently had one of his trucks painted pink in order to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Mitchell Esbaugh climbs atop his parents’ pink truck. The Esbaughs recently had the gravel truck painted pink to raise awareness about breast cancer research.
Mitchell Esbaugh climbs atop his parents’ pink truck. The Esbaughs recently had the gravel truck painted pink to raise awareness about breast cancer research.

“The driver says they definitely take a second and third look,” said Esbaugh, who along with his brother Ron, owns Tri-City Materials, a gravel supply company in the Petersburg area, and Tri-City ReadyMix.

The eye-catching gravel truck was part of the Santa Claus parade in St. Clements last weekend.

“I was pretty proud, actually. Everybody definitely took a second look and had a smile on their face when they saw it,” said Rick, who drove it in the parade.

Indeed, the truck has drawn plenty of attention – and not just at the parade – as its new coat of paint, which will likely stay on for another three to four years, isn’t the most orthodox colour scheme for a truck.

“[Rick] did go out of his way to really try to create awareness for breast cancer by painting a dump truck pink, though the truck driver wasn’t very happy about that,” joked Rick’s wife Barb, adding that the driver has warmed to the colour scheme now that the initial shock has subsided.

“He’s been good about it. He’s driving it,” she quipped.

The truck has since featured in a number of local parades, including those of St. Agatha and New Hamburg.

The Esbaughs’ decision to go pink is in line with the family’s support of cancer research and awareness. Barb has done the Walk for Breast Cancer in Toronto twice (a 60-kilometre walk in two days) and the Esbaughs’ companies have held auctions for two years in a row to support Kitchener radio station Kool-FM’s poster boy campaign for the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, raising $30,000 in the process.

“It’s such a great thing to have locally, we have to support it,” said Rick of the local centre. “Everybody knows somebody that has cancer.”

When Barb herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in October – she is now undergoing treatment and is doing well – the cause hit even closer to home. Rick wanted to do a little extra, and thus the idea of the pink truck was born.

“The breast cancer thing is all about the pink, right?

“The pink truck will hopefully bring awareness to early detection, which is key in breast cancer. If we can raise some more money for the poster boy campaign through the truck, we’ll try to do that too,” he said.

Barb stressed the importance of early detection, encouraging women to see their doctors on a yearly basis, conduct self-examinations, and have yearly mammograms done.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, in 2008 an estimated 22,400 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 5,300 will die of it. An estimated 170 men were diagnosed with breast cancer; 50 will die of it.

On average, 431 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every week; 102 Canadian women will die of breast cancer in that same period.

Breast cancer death rates have declined in every age group since at least the mid-1990s.

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