Ten years ago this fall the small south Fayette County town of Brooks was host to a new kind of “struttin’.”
Alice Ramsey, a recent breast cancer survivor, was inspired by her mother, “Miss Totsie” McKnight, and her “posse” of friends to make a difference in the lives of local cancer patients. The group called themselves The Pink Posse, a name derived from four months of support and camaraderie during Alice’s 2006 chemo treatments. Alice and her friends sported pink boas, wands and T-shirts to help keep Alice’s spirits up during her chemo.
Inspired to make a difference, Alice and her Posse decide to have a fundraiser. Thanks to the Community Foundation of West Georgia (cfwg.net), an organization that helps set up charitable funds, the Pink Posse of Georgia (www.pinkposseofga.com) became a reality, and in September 2006, 74 of Alice’s friends strapped on their walking shoes and plodded Alice’s daily three-mile trek for the first fundraiser walk. That year $1,900 was raised to provide financial assistance to needy cancer families to help pay utilities.
Alice, a native of Senoia and now a Brooks resident, is a flight attendant for Delta Airlines. For the past 29 years she has been a friendly face in the skies and was instrumental in the adoption of the pink flight attendant uniforms that are worn in October by Delta flight attendants. Because she devotes a lot of time in October to flying and raising money for breast cancer on her trips with Delta Airlines, Alice decided to have the Pink Posse Walk during the month of September.
Over the last ten years, the Pink Posse Walk has grown significantly. Last year more than 550 participants arrived in Brooks for the walk and helped raise $30,000 in a little over three hours. Now, the Pink Posse Walk is not just a walk in a small town, it is a major event.
“I am constantly amazed at the giving spirit of this wonderful community that I call home,” said Alice.
Participants arrive and park in the field of the Ramseys’ home. As they arrive for the walk, there is already the sense of a festival. Four-wheelers decorated with large pink bras lead the parade of walkers all decked out in their pinkest for the “pinkfest.”
All breast cancer survivors receive special recognition for the walk and lead the walk wearing a sash that denotes “SURVIVOR.”
“I attended my first Pink Posse Walk the year before I was diagnosed,” said Janis Anderson of Senoia. “The next year, I joined the survivors. To me, the Pink Posse Walk does the best job of creating a sense of support regardless of where you are in your journey.”
Accompanying the survivors, other walkers set out from the Ramsey home donned in their pinkest fun attire – participants sport boas, hats, tutus and a lot of pink.
Excitement builds as the returning walkers near the end of the 3-mile walk and cross the dirt dam lined with pink flamingos. The crowd gathers around the Ramseys’ back patio for the annual raffle. Alice emcees a short program telling the story of the Pink Posse and supporters receive tickets for each dollar donated to the Pink Posse. Each ticket stub is used to bid for a prize. Over 50 themed baskets of goodies are arranged throughout the patio and garage area. Displayed are baskets representative of UGA, GaTech, ECHS, the Braves, Falcons and sometimes items from “The Walking Dead.” Last year there was a Yeti cooler as one of the prizes and, of course, a pink Schwinn bicycle. In addition to the baskets, there are also homemade breast cancer logo cookies and a Pink Shop to purchase jewelry and other goodies. Barbeque is available as well as a special drawing for a grand prize.
To accomplish The Pink Posse Walk involves not only the Posse members, but also the members of Zeta Tau Alpha from Georgia Southwestern University as well as the Coweta County Sheriff’s Department, the Brooks Christian Church, The Brooks Woman’s Club and many other volunteers and family members.
Breast cancer has played a decisive role in Alice’s life and that of her entire family.
“I think there was always a feeling that Alice was in remission because she had such a positive attitude throughout the whole process,” said her husband Chris. “She focused on getting healthier by increasing her exercise, and focused on others, eventually coming up with the ideas for the Pink Posse walk, and the pink uniform campaign with Delta. Her journey became easier the more she tried to make a difference.”
The Pink Posse is the culmination of a story of a courageous woman who found a way to take her mother’s advice and “change her corner of the world.”
For more information, go to www.pinkposseofga.com.