Each October, American Airlines and its employees work to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research through the Be Pink campaign. It’s an important cause that has affected many of our employees, who have either battled cancer or have taken care of loved ones who have been diagnosed with the disease.
With one out of eight women in the United States being diagnosed with breast cancer, we know that the same is true for our customers. Be Pink allows our customers to see our employees’ dedication while at the same time participate in making a difference themselves by donating to Miles for the Cure to earn miles, or by donating unused American Airlines AAdvantage® miles to American Airlines Miles of Hope. Raised funds go toward a research grant at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
This year’s Be Pink campaign again focuses on the stories of our employees, the true strength behind the airline’s community efforts. We invited employee survivors and co-survivors systemwide to Fort Worth to be honored at CEO and Chairman Doug Parker’s quarterly State of the Airline address. At a mid-morning brunch, they shared their stories with each other and reminisced on their journeys. Some participated in a photo shoot. Their portraits represent why American and its employees are dedicated to finding a cure.
Their voices are singular, united in bringing awareness and working to fund research. “When I was first diagnosed, the first thing my doctor told me was that everyone’s story with cancer is different,” said Web Analyst Debbie Smith, who recently hit her five-year, all-clear milestone. “But look at all of us here. We are all working together toward the same goal.”
Flight Attendant Lenard Blackwell, DFW, returned for his second year participating in the Be Pink campaign. His story is unique in that he is the only male participant, but he says there is support out there for all those affected by breast cancer. “You can be the survivor, the caregiver, the family member, the partner, the friend,” Blackwell said. “But whatever role you play, there is support out there for you.”
Customers will be able to see American employees’ pink participation systemwide this month: Employees are wearing pink all month, plus you’ll be able to see pink accents are everywhere you look — on napkins, menus, boarding passes and more. We’re serving complimentary Minute Maid® Pink Lemonade on flights and Gogo’s log-on landing page is blushing, as well. Look for special pink items to purchase in flight and in the Admirals Club lounges, where part of the purchase price goes toward breast cancer research funds.
In July, American employees who have survived breast cancer were invited to headquarters, where CEO and President Doug Parker recognized them at the quarterly State of the Airlines address. The event kicked off the airline’s annual Be Pink campaign efforts.
Donna Paladin, VP – Stations, and return participant Erin Fey, Customer Service representative, CLT, enjoy the reception banquet held for Be Pink participants.
Breast Cancer survivors Donna Smith, Flight Attendant, CLT, and Lenard Blackwell, Flight Attendant, DFW, share a special moment at the Be Pink banquet in July. This is the second year for Blackwell to participate in the Be Pink campaign. His involvement brings much needed attention to male breast cancer, a rare form of the disease.
Flight Attendant and Production Coordination Gabrielle Oviatt shares her experience with Elise Eberwein, EVP – People and Communications, at a Be Pink brunch held at American headquarters. American employees from across the system were flown to Fort Worth and treated to a couple of special days with fellow survivors and co-survivors.
American Chairman and CEO Doug Parker enjoys a light brunch and warm conversation with employees who participated in the 2015 Be Pink campaign. Parker honored this special group, flown in from across the system, at the quarterly State of the Airline address.
“My carefree life was rocked by my stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis,” says Sarah Bly, Flight Attendant, PHL. “I knew nothing about breast cancer except pink ribbons and media coverage every October.” Today, she is an active supporter of the Be Pink campaign and runs her own blog to give comfort, aid and advice about the disease. You can read more from her in this month’s issue of American Way.
Flight attendants Erin Fey, Lenard Blackwell and Gabrielle Oviatt return for the second year to participate in American’s Be Pink campaign. American employees are the face of the initiative, which works to raise awareness and funds toward breast cancer research.