Employees, patients dance against breast cancer

Staff, patients and employees dance for breast cancer video

Breast cancer survivors, UI Health staff, UIC employees and more danced outside the UI Hospital June 17 for the Pink Glove Dance Competition. Photo: Hossein Fatemi

The crowd of 300 people had one thing in common: pink.

A sea of pink shirts, hats, wristbands, wigs, shoes, soccer socks and gloves danced around a giant pink cube in the grassy area across from UI Hospital June 17 for a music video submission to the 2014 Medline Pink Glove Dance Competition.

Hospitals across the nation participate in the challenge, which raises awareness of breast cancer and early detection.

The winning hospital, selected through a public vote in September, receives $15,000 from health care distributor Medline to donate to a breast cancer charity of its choice. UI Health’s charity partner is Chicago-based Imerman Angels, a group that matches cancer patients with cancer survivors who serve as their mentors.

“We thought it was an excellent opportunity to provide awareness about the things we do here at UI Health for women going through breast cancer,” said Camille Baxter, UI Health’s senior director of marketing and strategic communications.

UI Health staff, UIC faculty, Flames athletes, UIC Dance and Cheer teams, breast cancer survivors, friends and families affected by breast cancer, players from the MLS Chicago Fire soccer team and members of Imerman Angels participated in choreographed segments for the video.

“We thought for the last few years that this would be a great way to get staff and employees in something fun and unique,” said Cayce Mallen, UI Health’s assistant director of branding and strategic communication. “And to spread the message for a really great cause.”

The purpose of the competition is to raise awareness of breast cancer in all of its stages, as represented by the giant cube.

“Each side of the box represented a different stage of the breast cancer journey, like prevention, education, feelings and emotions,” Mallen said.

Participants signed the cube and wrote messages to patients and survivors. The finale of the video included a dance in front of the cube, with survivors jumping out of the box.

Other segments of the 90-second video, which features the song “Overcomer” by gospel singer Mandisa, were shot in and around the UI Hospital.

Cathy Rennau, UI Health’s nurse manager for diagnostics, participated in a group dance filmed at the mammography center.

“I participated because I lost my mom to breast cancer and my cousin, and I have many friends that are struggling right now and are under treatment,” she said.

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Members of the Chicago Fire soccer team were part of the video filming, which raises awareness of breast cancer and early detection. Photo: Hossein Fatemi

“Spreading awareness in this format is really good for young people. People under 50 usually don’t get mammograms, so it’s really important for them to understand breast health.”

Dana Perry likes the idea of spreading awareness through a music video.

“It gives our organization a national platform, national attention, as well as local attention,” said Perry, service excellence coach at UI Health.

Imerman Angels, founded in 2003, connects cancer survivors, caregivers and patients for one-on-one support in 50 states and in more than 60 countries.

“This is a mission — a movement — of thousands of survivors across the world who all believe together, collectively, that they can make the cancer world a better place,” said Jonny Imerman, founder and chief mission officer of the organization. “What we can cure is isolation. No one should be isolated.”

The first Pink Glove video, which went viral after it was filmed in 2009, was performed by 200 hospital staff members at Providence St. Vincent Center in Portland, Oregon.

The Medline Pink Glove Dance Competition began the following year and has included more than 200,000 dancers and 524 video submissions.