Local ‘Save the Pumpkins’ campaign targets breast cancer

October 14, 2015   ·   0 Comments

By Tabitha Wells

By Tabitha Wells

By Tabitha Wells

With the month of October being officially named Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s not surprising to see initiatives popping up all over the place, designed to help raise awareness and funds for research into this disease.

Breast Cancer has become such a hot topic across Canada because it is the most com- mon cancer amongst women, and the second leading cause of death by cancer in Canadian women. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, it is expected that 25,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, representing 26% of all new cancer cases for women in Canada.

On average, they say, 68 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer each day, with 14 women dying from the cancer daily.

Last Friday, local resident Maranda Lehtinen ran her own campaign at the Orangeville Zehrs to raise both funds and awareness for the cancer.

Called “Save The Pumpkins”, this mini-campaign was designed to help further the effort of fundraising, following the CIBC Run for the Cure, which occurred the previous weekend.

“The month of October seemed like the perfect time to piggyback ‘Save the Pumpkins’,” said Ms. Lehtinen. “My family has been with cancer not once, not twice, but four times, including breast cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer and throat cancer. I felt that enough was enough.”

The current effort is specific to Breast Cancer, and was set up to run through the month of October so that it would roll nicely into November’s ‘Movember’ campaign, which turns the spotlight to men’s health issues, including prostate cancer.
Ms. Lehtinen explained that she has been donating monetarily to various research campaigns, including the CIBC run, for a number of years, as well as being a regular supporter of the Princess Margaret Lottery, but felt she had more to offer.

“This is where it led me,” she said. “I was inspired to this from a story of a 30-year-old young lady who was battling her own breast cancer in South Glengarry, Ontario. I was incredibly impressed by the support she received from her town.”

The woman’s mother, Christine Lefebvre, had shared her daughter’s story on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Ontario Region Facebook page, explaining how at the age of 30, she was already facing her second battle of breast cancer.

“She is having surgery on Wednesday, and her neighbours and friends decided to send her off in style surrounded by a sea of pink pumpkins, as part of a fundraising event ‘Save the Pumpkins’,” wrote Ms. Lefebvre on Sep- tember 29. “What started out as a neighbourhood event so that neighbours could display their pink pumpkin on Wednesday when our daughter left, turned into a city-wide event with over 700 pumpkins sold.”

Ms. Lehtinen decided to continue with the inspiration started through the South Glengarry community and run her own Save the Pumpkins campaign.

“I think it works well, and the timing is great, especially with the pink fire hydrants in town,” she said. “Whether they are pink on purpose, or by fluke, it makes no difference. The colour has made the town happy, and awareness con- tinues that day.”

On Friday, Ms. Lehtinen and daughter Sierra set up a booth outside the Orangeville Zehrs to sell their pink pumpkins and Save the Pumpkins t-shirts. In less than half an hour, their pumpkins were over half sold out.

Throughout their time at Zehrs, they were able to raise $390 for the Canadian Cancer Society. And, if Ms. Lehtinen can obtain more pumpkins, she hopes to be able to run another campaign day.

“I really want to give a big thanks to Lori at Zehrs for their contribution of 30 pumpkins, and Fabricland for their help with the ribbon,” she said.

She added that all donations are welcome, whether they are monetary, or consist of more pumpkins that she can paint and sell.

All donations of $10 or more will automatically receive a pink pumpkin, and t-shirts (such as the ones in the picture above) are available for order at a cost of $20 per shirt.
Proceeds from the pumpkins and shirts will be given to the Canadian Cancer Society at the end of October.

For more information, or to place an order for a t-shirt, you can contact Ms. Lehtinen at

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