TALLAHASSEE, Fla., December 14, 2022 — In a true, community wide effort, the third annual #FlamingoChallenge, held during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, raised more than $77,000 to support local patients battling breast cancer, with donations still coming in over the holidays. The initiative, spearheaded by the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) Foundation and First Commerce Credit Union, was first launched three years ago during the height of the pandemic, when many community fundraisers had been cancelled due to public safety concerns. Since its inception, #FlamingoChallenge has raised more than $200,000.
In 2022, the #FlamingoChallenge raised more than the two previous years thanks to the continued support and generosity of individuals, businesses and other community organizations who participated in the challenge and made donations. Every dollar raised also stays local and is used for a variety of things, such as helping to underwrite the cost of a PET Scan, MRI or mammogram, or simply providing a lymphedema sleeve to relieve pain for patients undergoing treatment in Tallahassee Memorial’s Walker Breast Program. The program is the region’s only one accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.
“Our community never ceases to amaze me,” said Nigel Allen, President and Chief Advancement Officer of the TMH Foundation. “When there is a need, our community is there to answer the call — and there is nothing more important than helping and supporting another person when they need it most.”
Allen added that each year, the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center diagnoses and treats more than 1,650 new cancer cases — and breast cancer is the No. 1 diagnosis.
“We have been incredibly inspired by the outpouring of support from the community in response to the Flamingo Challenge,” said First Commerce CEO Cecilia Homison. “The stories shared by the patients who have benefitted from the community’s generous donations are truly heartwarming. Together, we are making a difference.”
#FlamingoChallenge is a fun, communitywide fundraiser where businesses, organizations and individuals show their support for cancer patients by claiming a flock of pink yard flamingos to place in front of their home or business, making a pledge to donate or fundraise and posting pictures with their flamingos on social media. They then “challenge” the next person or organization to take the flock and make a pledge, moving the flamingos throughout the city.
“Being a nurse and a cancer survivor myself, I understand the importance of this kind of support,” said Kathy Brooks, RN, Administrator of Tallahassee Memorial’s Oncology Services. “When someone is fighting for their life, the last thing they need to worry about is the cost of treatment, or of the little things that just make you feel better, such as a wig or lymphedema sleeve. The gratitude, joy and sense of relief I see in our patients faces when they are told help is available is truly priceless.”
#FlamingoChallenge 2022 is in the books and the flamingo flocks have flown home to roost until next year. If you would like information about next year’s event and the return of the flocks, call Anne Munson at the TMH Foundation at 850-431-5931.
(L to R): Cecilia Homison (First Commerce CEO), Nigel Allen (President of the TMH Foundation), and Kim Howes (First Commerce COO)
About the TMH Foundation
The TMH Foundation’s mission is to develop and sustain philanthropic support for TMH and generate community understanding and involvement to support TMH’s mission, vision, goals and objectives. Contributions to the Foundation are deductible by donors and/or their estates for federal income, gift and estate tax purposes. Members of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees are community leaders charged with policy and oversight, managing the Foundation’s assets, distributing funds to TMH, encouraging community involvement and promoting population health – within and beyond TMH’s service area, through educational programs and research projects.
About First Commerce Credit Union
First Commerce Credit Union is an award-winning, full-service, #LocalStrong financial institution dedicated to supporting its communities for more than 80 years. Headquartered in Tallahassee, Fla., the credit union serves more than 70,000 consumer and business members across North Florida and South Georgia and has more than $990 million in assets. First Commerce offers best-in-class consumer and business products and services. The credit union also offers comprehensive financial planning and investment services through its subsidiary Six Pillars Financial Advisors, as well as commercial and personal insurance through First Commerce Insurance Agency. For details, visit FirstCommerceCU.org or call 850.488.0035 or 800.533.5772. Insured by NCUA. Equal housing opportunity lender.