By Leanne Smith
BLACKMAN TWP., MI – This year’s “Pink Day” had special meaning to those at Northwest High School.
Part of the annual event that raises awareness for breast cancer and honors those who have fought the disease is a “Pink Lunch” of pink-hued food prepared by the school’s food service staff.
Michelle Kelly, a Northwest High cafeteria cashier, has been a part of that lunch since it started six years ago.
Except this year.
Kelly is fighting her own battle with breast cancer. Staff and students honored her on “Pink Day,” Thursday, Oct. 22, with a special display on the food line.
“I’ve always enjoyed the day and the lunch,” said Kelly, a member of the food service staff since 2002. “It helps make the kids aware of breast cancer. It’s a good cause. So many people are affected by it.”
Kelly, diagnosed with breast cancer in June, said she has just finished chemotherapy and is awaiting surgery.
“I’m fighting,” she said. “I’m so grateful for my co-workers and my family. They’re giving me such great support.”
On the menu for the “Pink Lunch” were pink salmon patties, Thai chili chicken on pink rice, roasted red skin potatoes, pink pasta, an array of red fruits and vegetables and the ever-popular pink cake for dessert.
“We miss Michelle so much,” said Penny Kinch, a Northwest cook. “We think about her every day and want her to come back. Without her, there’s something missing in our kitchen.”
As part of “Pink Day,” staff and students dress in their best pink attire. During the lunch, they also can put the names of people they know who’ve fought cancer on cards and tape them to a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon on a window.
“It’s nice because everyone comes together and supports this cause,” said sophomore Danielle Griswold, 15, who wore a pink tutu. “Everyone is more aware of breast cancer because of this.”
New this year, Northwest is making its final home varsity football game of the year on Friday, Oct. 23 against Leslie a “Pink Out.” A “Pink Out” dance, with proceeds going to breast cancer research, is taking place after the game.