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Fundraiser turning town pink

– Beginning today and running into June, there will be a preponderance of pink in Fort Wayne.

The “Turn the Town Pink” campaign sponsored by the Vera Bradley Foundation starts today when Vera Bradley employees and volunteers hang pink ribbons throughout downtown and participating neighborhoods. The Journal Gazette has turned its Weekender mast pink today in honor of the campaign.

The campaign is part of a monthlong fundraising effort for the awareness and cure of breast cancer.

“We’re hoping the community will be wearing pink (today),” said Catherine Hill, executive director of the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.

At a noon ceremony at One Summit Square, Mayor Tom Henry will proclaim today “Turn the Town Pink Day.” Pink lights will illuminate the Martin Luther King Bridge on North Clinton Street and the History Center, 302 E. Berry St. A pink flag will fly over Historic Fort Wayne, 1201 Spy Run Ave.

“Each ribbon represents a contribution that has been made to the Vera Bradley Foundation,” Hill said. “All of the ribbons will be hung on the trees throughout the downtown core, and then we also have some participating neighborhoods that have been selling those pink ribbons in their neighborhood, and those will all get hung at the end of the week, as well.”

In addition to hanging pink ribbons, “Pink Ribbon Run” will be Saturday at Lutheran Hospital. A 4-mile run and 2-mile walk will begin at 9 a.m., originating from the 7836 building on the Lutheran campus on West Jefferson Boulevard. The run is also being sponsored by the Three Rivers Running Company.

Ribbons can be bought at any of the Vera Bradley events for a $5 donation.

The Fort Wayne TinCaps will play a Midwest League game May 22 while wearing pink jerseys, which will be auctioned to benefit the Vera Bradley Foundation.

The campaign will culminate in the 21st annual Vera Bradley Classic golf and tennis tournaments.

The golf tournament will be June 2 at two venues: Sycamore Hills Country Club and Pine Valley Country Club. The tennis tournament is May 30 and 31 at the Wildwood Racquet Club.

“The classic has consistently raised over a million dollars – the total classic event, which includes Turn the Town Pink campaign as well as the golf and tennis tournaments,” Hill said.

“It’s so obvious when we turn the town pink – this community’s shared passion for the cause,” she said. “It just puts wind in our sails. You can see it when you see all those pink ribbons going up all over downtown, all throughout the neighborhoods; the pink light post banners go up.

“… It overwhelms us here at Vera Bradley – all the employees and those of us who are working hard to raise funds for this cause – to see the entire community embrace our efforts and share in our passion. It shows.”