Wally’s Restaurant Making Breast Cancer Awareness, Prevention Accessible

May 17, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill James Harrop

Breast cancer and fun aren’t two things that typically go together, but Wally’s Restaurant in Surf City is hoping to change that this year with its Paint the Town Pink window display and get more women to take action against the potentially life-threatening disease. The display, which spans the length of the front windows and was painted by artist James Harrop (who has painted the windows at Wally’s before), is a map of the borough with all the buildings painted in pink. The hope is that it will force a conversation about the importance of mammograms and early detection for all women but especially those older than 40. Mike Tomko, whose family bought Wally’s three years ago, also hopes to raise money for the Pink Fund.

The Pink Fund allows breast cancer patients in active treatment to focus on healing, raising their families and returning to work by funding 90 days of non-medical cost-of-living expenses.

“­­­­It’s such a serious thing,” Tomko said, adding his family has been touched by the disease. “We’re family owned so this is a cause dear to us. We want to be able to help more women. So, we raised the bar this year.”

And the customers are responding, he said. “We have heard so many stories, so many great stories,” he said, adding it’s been an interesting few weeks just listening to the stories and learning more about mammograms. He said customers have helped quadruple last year’s donations tally in just a short period of time.

For nearly a decade, Hackensack Meridian’s Paint the Town Pink campaign has brought awareness to breast cancer prevention, detection and treatment. It also helps raise money to provide mammography screenings for women in the community who are uninsured or under-insured.

In addition to raising awareness and money, Wally’s is handing out brochures with local numbers where women can schedule appointments for a mammogram. —G.G.S.

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