VALDOSTA – First Commerce Credit Union and the South Georgia Medical Center Foundation are joining forces again this year for the second #PinkPower #FlamingoChallenge in South Georgia to raise funds during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

More than 50 businesses, schools and organizations as well as dozens of individuals participated in the challenge’s first year in 2020, raising more than $10,000 to directly benefit patients treated at SGMC’s Pearlman Cancer Center, hospital officials said in a statement.

“Having lived and worked in Valdosta my whole life, finding meaningful ways to give back to my community has always been important to me,” said Garrett Copeland, First Commerce market president for Valdosta. “In the first year of the Flamingo Challenge, we had great participation from local businesses and I’m confident this year will be even better. This challenge raises money that stays right here in our hometown to support breast cancer patients receiving care at the Pearlman Cancer Center.”

To jumpstart the initiative, First Commerce has challenged businesses, organizations, and individuals in Georgia communities, including Nashville, Adel, Ray City and Valdosta by delivering flocks of plastic flamingos and encouraging them to raise funds or donate to directly support breast cancer patients at SGMC’s Pearlman Cancer Center – and then keep the flock moving by issuing the next challenge.

“Knowing so many First Commerce team members, members and friends have a connection to this cause, we wanted to find a way to empower people to give back and support others in the community who are facing their own battles,” said Cecilia Homison, First Commerce chief executive officer. “We believe in the power of our team and our community to make a difference.”

Everyone is invited to participate in the #PinkPower #FlamingoChallenge including businesses, organizations, schools and individuals, hospital officials said. 

"The concept is simple: Once you accept the challenge and receive the flamingos along with the yard sign or poster about the initiative, post your photo with the flock and make a fundraising or donation pledge on social media – no amount is too small and 100% of these tax-deductible gifts directly support patients fighting breast cancer," hospital officials said. "Then, contact the organization or individual you want to challenge next and ask them to do the same. 

"Once they accept, move the flock in front of their business, organization, school or home and ask them to move the flock forward again within 24-48 hours." 

For more information about the #PinkPower #FlamingoChallenge or to donate online, visit //SGMCFoundation.org/PinkPower or contact First Commerce at Flamingos@FirstCommerceCU.org.

Funds raised through the #PinkPower #FlamingoChallenge initiative will directly benefit cancer patients at SGMC’s Pearlman Cancer Center, which offers a full array of diagnostic and support services for the detection and treatment of breast cancer, hospital officials said.

“We are grateful to partner with First Commerce again this year to raise funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer,” said Elizabeth Vickers, executive director of the SGMC Foundation. “Keeping charitable donations local is important for our community, as well as the programs and services we offer our patients through the Pearlman Cancer Center.”

Join the movement on social media and #FollowTheFlock! photos will capture how creative each group gets in showing off its flock (even striking a flamingo pose) and raising funds for the cause – options include making a donation, working with a team/family/friends on a FUNdraising project, or pledging a portion of the proceeds of a product or service. 

Throughout October, #FollowTheFlock and #FindTheFlock on social media by visiting @FirstCommerceCU and @SGMCFoundation or search for the #PinkPower and #FlamingoChallenge hashtags.

Friday, Oct. 22 has been designated as #PinkPower Day.

"We invite you to join us in our efforts on this day by encouraging your team, family or friends to wear or display pink, decorate offices and homes (work from home spaces, too) and more," hospital officials said.

To learn more about #PinkPower including how to participate in the #FlamingoChallenge, visit //SGMCFoundation.org/PinkPower for more information.

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