Monday, May 18, 2009

Legacy in pink

I paid tribute to local news anchor Heather Pick last November, on the day that she lost her decade-long battle with breast cancer. The last time most of us saw her was shortly before she died, visibly weary but typically bubbly, appearing on our TV screens wearing a garishly bright pink wig.

Heather was active in her support of cancer-research causes and had been a regular participant in the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure. When this year's race took place last weekend, Heather's spirit was very much in evidence -- here's a photo taken in front of Columbus City Hall just before Saturday's race got underway:

Of the record-breaking 45,000-plus who showed up for this year's Komen Columbus Race for the Cure, more than 7,000 wore pink wigs, just like Heather's. Women, men and children, survivors and supporters, even local celebrities like Jack Hanna and Archie Griffin proudly carried on the legacy of one brave and selfless woman.

They called themselves "Heather's Team."

Ok, so maybe this story of a local TV personality and the thousands she inspired doesn't do anything for you, or maybe breast cancer isn't your cause. It could be that you recoil from what you see as an over-hyped "herd mentality," or maybe you just don't like crowds, even knowing that this particular crowd raised $2 million in a single day.

Whatever your objections, try to silence them for a moment and remember that good springs not from big charities or government agencies but from people.

People like Heather Pick, who had the courage to do much more than simply make her private pain public. People like those pink-wigged runners and walkers, people committed to making a difference. People who notice, people who choose and, most important, people who act.

Doing good doesn't recognize politics or religion, race or class. In fact, good requires that we subordinate our differences, asking only for our participation. Seeing a need and responding. Placing values above beliefs, others above self.

People, participating -- that's how good gets done.