Pink Lemonade Project gets new wheels

Dealership donates SUV to help breast-cancer nonprofit

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

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Two months ago, Brittany Pratt made a comment to the Pink Lemonade Project board of directors about her small car. The nonprofit’s executive director was having difficulty cramming the organization’s displays and bins of swag into her small, four-door sedan when she went to community events.

She never expected the result she was surprised with two Sundays ago: a bubble-gum pink 2016 Toyota RAV4, covered in the nonprofit’s logos and donated to the organization by McCord’s Vancouver Toyota.

“I was shocked and surprised, and I couldn’t believe it,” Pratt said. “That was an exciting day.”

Pink Lemonade and McCord’s Vancouver Toyota held a reception at the dealership Friday morning to celebrate the donation, and the SUV was on display.

A pink breast cancer awareness ribbon stretches across the hood of the vehicle, which is adorned with pink Toyota emblems and breast cancer license plates.

“The vehicle is a rolling billboard, which is great,” Pratt said. “It’s great for practical reasons, but it’s also getting the word out about what we do.”

Pink Lemonade volunteer Don Stose approached McCord’s about donating a vehicle last month. Stose, who worked as a Toyota factory representative for 30 years, met with Phillip Cianni, general manager of McCord’s, and told him about Pink Lemonade’s mission — to support the women in the community who are battling, or thriving after, breast cancer — and explained Pratt’s predicament with her too-small car.

It didn’t take long for Cianni to come on board. Like many people, his family has been touched by breast cancer; both his grandmother and aunt received diagnoses.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” Cianni said. “This is such an amazing opportunity for us to provide a vehicle for them … and support their cause.”

The Vancouver-based nonprofit aims to educate, empower and support women with breast cancer. The organization offers a variety of programs designed to do just that, from its local support group meetings to bimonthly Pink Link social events to weekend survivor retreats.

Pratt often attends community events to spread the word about Pink Lemonade Project, and when she does, she brings along props, such as a lemonade stand and pink Waste Connections recycle bins. To get all of the gear to those events, Pratt had to solicit help from volunteers with bigger vehicles.

Now, she can fit everything in the RAV4. And, as an added bonus, the vehicle’s bright color and logos — a wrap done by Markon Brand Design in Vancouver — draw attention to the nonprofit.

“We are so grateful to have this pink car,” Pratt said. “We want people to know we exist. We want people to know we’re here so we can help more people. The more people who know about us, the more people we can help.”