One man’s trash is another woman’s cash - just ask Kelly Buffalino.
And now a portion of your garbage bill may help a person or family facing enormous medical bills from breast cancer treatment.
Buffalino, a breast cancer survivor, is the president of the Wilmington-based Pink Trash Recycling and Trash Collection Services. Pink Trash recently became licensed to pick up residential and commercial trash in the unincorporated areas of Onslow County.
Buffalino believes in giving back and for the past seven years has redirected one percent of her company’s revenue to organizations involved in helping patients and family members offset the cost of breast cancer treatment and recovery.
To date the company has donated more than $200,000, according to Buffalino.
At a recent seminar, she was joined with Executive Director Kara Kenan and Program Manager Joy Wade with Going Beyond the Pink, a Wilmington nonprofit. The free event gave an overview on things to know before, during and after a cancer diagnosis.
“You are all aware of what these colors and logos symbolize,” Kenan said to the group. “Now start making a difference. We are aware. Now we need to make an impact."
Kenan told the group that both women and men are susceptible to contracting breast cancer. One out of eight females are expected to get breast cancer while men’s odds are about one out of 1,000.
Citing N.C. State Center for Health Statistics data for Onslow County, Kenan said, “130 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 while 17 will die from breast cancer in the same year.”
Panning the room, Kenan noted: “That’s everyone sitting in this room.”
Kenan encouraged the attendees to be a voice, and to volunteer their time and talents.
Wade told a story of a young lady studying in college who noticed an abnormality with her breast and went to her doctor. Wade said the doctor examined her and “told her what she wanted to hear: ‘That it was nothing.’”
Unfortunately she was misdiagnosed and three years later died from breast cancer.
“Don’t let someone else die because of a wrong diagnosis,” Wade implored.
Wade suggested everyone perform self-exams of their breasts. Wade admitted giving herself a breast exam while waiting at a red light.
Steve Marshall was the lone male participating. An insurance agent by profession, he explained how cancer touched his life when he became a caregiver for his father afflicted with terminal cancer. Marshall’s father had a cancer plan insurance policy that aided greatly when his medical bills began to mount.
“There’s a lot of things people don’t think about when they have cancer,” Marshall said.
Marshall’s words were reinforced by Buffalino, who had her own journey through a Stage-3 breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery, found the process of relocating from New York to North Carolina costly.
“Thank God we had the Aflac insurance plan,” Buffalino said. "We used every penny of it."
Hannah Hunter came to the luncheon with her business partner Sonya Davis, the agency director and supervisor of Shining Hearts Home Care of North Carolina, a for-profit in-home assisted living company that offers companionship, personal sitting and light housekeeping.
Hunter was impressed with the presentation.
“It’s a different approach of bringing awareness. They have new ideas and go beyond the ribbons and slogans of other organizations,” Hunter said.
Davis has been touched by cancer as she has a mother who is a 19-year survivor.
“Much of the information is new from what we get from our doctors. I’d like to bring my husband and family to a future seminar,” Davis said.
Going Beyond the Pink and its traveling road show of Wade and Kenan hope to go before more groups throughout the region.
As their marketing collateral proclaims: “We are hyper-local. We recognize that cancer impacts more than just the survivor. Our classes are free and open to all who might benefit from them.”
For more information on Going Beyond the Pink visit GoingBeyondthePink.org. To learn more about Pink Trash’s services, call 910-313-2556.
Reporter Mike McHugh can be reached at 910-219-8455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org