In November, Lena Jumper had surprise visitors who waited outside her Plainfield home.
Pink fire trucks, a pink police car, friends and family had gathered to show support as she began to battle breast cancer.
On Sunday, she joined thousands of others in the Pink Heals Joliet Area Chapter’s fourth annual Mother’s Day Walk in Channahon.
“I was used to fighting alone, and I didn’t know I needed support. I am grateful for it,” Jumper said.
Pink Heals Joliet Area Chapter has become a household name in communities after they have roared into many neighborhoods with a fleet of pink vehicles named after women and children who lost their cancer battles.
During these home visits, each Pink Heals volunteer lines up to meet and hug the visit recipient to show love and support, the recipient signs one of the vehicles and also receives financial help on an individual basis.
“We would like to beat what we made last year, which was less than $50,000,” said Angie Caldwell, director of home visits.
The Pink Heals Joliet Area Chapter was founded by husband and wife Matt and Sandra Fleck. Sandra stood up and addressed the crowd before the walk to thank everyone who attended.
“We go on home visits and we have two fire trucks, a police car and a trail of 15 cars behind us going through intersections. They show up after working all night long, barely can open their eyes and they escort us through all of the visits – and we couldn’t do it without them,” Sandra Fleck said.
All donations to the Pink Heals Joliet Area Chapter go to help those who battle cancer. Sandra Fleck said funds from merchandise sales go to the maintenance and fuel for the three vehicles that go on each home visit. More than 60 raffle items and baskets also helped to raise funds.
Sandra Fleck said her mother and sister both battled and survived cancer.
“A lot of our merchandise says fight, it’s a new theme of ours and let me tell you, never stop fighting, never give up and never, never stop fighting and we won’t stop fighting for you,” Sandra Fleck said.
In 2014, Pink Heals Joliet Area Chapter launched its first Mother’s Day Walk. Caldwell said that the first year 1,000 people registered and this year the registration started at 1,000 and went up from there another 300 late registrants, 226 business sponsor walkers and many same-day registrants.
“Seeing all of the community support is so heartwarming. We see people who really want to help others. It feels good to be able to do this-and not worry if we have funds to help people throughout the year,” Caldwell said.