By Julianne Mosher |

Local elected officials and dozens of volunteers gathered at Islip Town Hall to flick the switch and light up the cupola in pink to help raise awareness for breast cancer.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter held a press conference announcing the official start of Pink by the Bay — a new initiative that gathered local businesses to light up their store windows in pink for October, Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“To raise awareness along the Great South Bay, Main Street will be illuminated for the whole month of October,” said Carpenter, adding that this was a collaborative effort between Islip Town and Babylon. Both towns simultaneously light up their Town Hall in a beaming pink.

“What we’re doing here today works,” said Babylon Councilwoman Jacqueline Gordon. “We are working really hard on the south shore, and on Long Island, to raise awareness for this preventable cancer.”

As the group of volunteers, officials, nurses, doctors and small business owners stood around the light switch to turn on the pink light, the sun was too bright to show off the pink color — but that didn’t stop everyone from smiling and remembering why they came together.

“This year, 2,400 people in New York will die of breast cancer,” said Valerie Burger, a registered nurse and associate vice president of cancer services in Northwell Health’s Eastern region. “You’re here because your hearts led you to be here, to support those who are fighting a fight for their lives.”

Burger added that the initiative was also put in place to help bring awareness to early detection and make sure every woman (and man) gets checked out annually. “We need a sense of normalcy for mammography,” she said, “Get screened, bring awareness and make it normal.”

Over 300 storefronts ranging from East Islip to Babylon agreed to participate in Pink by the Bay, which was a nine-month project in the making, involving Northwell Health’s Imbert Cancer Center, Southside Hospital, Great South Bay Imaging, coinciding with National Breast Cancer Awareness. “We’re so fortunate to have two great, world-renowned hospitals in our town,” Supervisor Carpenter added.

Pink by the Bay was inspired by a similar program on the North Shore, backed by the Fortunato Breast Health Center at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson called Paint Port Pink.

Scroll down to see photos from the day.

Even mini horse BB King was dressed in pink to show his support
Signage for Pink by the Bay at Islip Town Hall
Dr. Sophia Fu, breast surgical oncologist at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center
Flicking the switch to turn Town Hall pink, which will be seen tonight when the sky is dark
Dozens of hospital volunteers came out to help raise breast cancer awareness at Islip Town Hall