CHICAGO Ed Aquino, RN, of Yonkers, N.Y., came to a 6 a.m. event on March 31 wearing a foam Statue of Liberty crown and sharing a message.
Aquinos father has battled colorectal cancer, and his wife recently was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I want people to know there is hope and there is help, said Aquino, an OR nurse at White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital. [Cancer patients] need all the support they can get from friends and families.
As part of Medlines Pink Glove Dance breakfast, Aquino joined more than 800 other nurses attending the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses Surgical Conference & Expo 2014 in a dance. The event kicked off the video submission period for this years Pink Glove contest, which is the fourth annual competition.
Where it began
At the suggestion of Medline, nurses and staff members at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland, Ore., starred in the first Pink Glove Dance video in 2009.
Nearly 14 million YouTube views later, the video has become a viral sensation with staying power.
We did not anticipate what would happen, said Medline CNO Martie Moore, RN, NAOM, CPHQ, who was the CNO at Providence St. Vincent in 2009. Our switchboard was overwhelmed. … I got a call that the video had gone viral. Im a nurse. Virals bad. I truly thought somebody had sabotaged it.
My teenage daughter said, Mom, its OK. Its a good thing. That means its being spread.
The video found its way to websites, social media platforms and TV stations around the country. And tourists found their way to Portland.
People came to our hospital for vacation, Moore said. They came to Portland, Ore., and they wanted to see the Pink Glove hospital.
On more than one occasion while leaving work, Moore encountered visitors taking photos outside the hospital. She regularly greeted them and introduced herself.
All of a sudden, Im in a family picture, she said.
This is personal
For Aquino and Moore, breast cancer isnt just about funny videos.
This is a personal fight, Moore said. Im the daughter of a 30-year breast cancer survivor. My niece was diagnosed at the age of 29. I have five cousins, three who have lost their battles, and an aunt who lost her battle. Its a disease that changes lives.
Since 2009, the Pink Glove movement has raised more than $2.5 million for breast cancer prevention and free mammograms for women in need through the National Breast Cancer Foundation and other charities across the U.S.
Last year, more than 80,000 dancers were featured in hundreds of video submissions to the Pink Glove contest.
In 2009, Moore said the video gave her an unexpected connection with nurses at Providence St. Vincent.
As it went viral, the stories that came out were just incredible, she said. When we did the dance, people would say, Martie, did you know I was a breast cancer survivor? I learned the stories of the nurses that I didnt know.
Aquino, who shared his story during the breakfasts question-and-answer session with keynote speaker and former CNN news anchor Zoraida Sambolin, said the power of stories is undeniable.
By sharing your story, you get to know that youre not alone, he said. We should continue to speak up and continue to share stories, because there are lessons learned from every story.
By sharing the story of her breast cancer journey, Sambolin has heard from numerous other patients stricken with the disease.
What it has done for me is help me heal, said Sambolin, who announced on the air last May that she was undergoing a bilateral mastectomy. It filled me with a lot of hope. Its done more for me than what Ive been able to do for it.
Along with joining in during the Pink Glove Dance, Sambolin brought nurses in the audience to tears with video clips and stories of friends and family members playing a crucial role in her journey.
She showed photos of her teenage son, Nico, and her fiance, Chicago White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams, dressed in scrubs while caring for her at home after surgery.
Sambolin also shared a story of her 10-year-old daughter, Sofia, asking about her own future health and whether she had to worry about breast cancer.
While greeting attendees after the event, Sambolin hugged and consoled numerous nurses who shared their personal stories.
Sometimes, I get angry, Sambolin said. Its such an insidious disease. It makes me sad.
Hearing Sambolins story offered nurses in the audience plenty of inspiration.
It reaffirms what we do in our work, said Dianna Kjenner, RN, Bremerton, Wash. You cant be anything but the most empathetic that you can be. I think shes an incredibly brave person.
The power of nurses
Over the past year, Sambolin has encountered numerous healthcare clinicians.
Among those who have made a big impact have been nurses.
One nurse at Chicagos Rush University Medical Center was my sister, my mother and my best friend after diagnosis, she said.
Though she admitted she didnt remember her nurses names, the impression they made on Sambolin was long-lasting.
This is a calling for them, she said. They are so giving, so selfless. And, they have so much power to help someone heal, physically and emotionally. Im so grateful for them.
Barry Bottino is social media editor/regional editor at Nurse.com.
SEE THE ORIGINAL Pink Glove Dance video from Providence St. Vincent at PinkGloveDance.com/About.