Bradley County native Karen Mills, a professional comedian who rocked the crowd last year during the 2011 Breast Cancer Survivors Luncheon as part of Volley for a Cure, believes it as well.
“Laughter is still the best medicine,” the well-traveled entertainer told our newspaper in an interview leading up to her keynote performance. And that’s what she brought to the DeVos Recreation Center on the Lee University campus. Laughter, and plenty of it.
Another lighthearted initiative whose cause is a smile even in the face of unparalleled fear is the “Flamingo Flock.” Now in its third year, the flock is orchestrated by Dr. Michael Hoops and the ladies of The Plastic Surgery Clinic.
This comical fundraiser is one of many community events tied into Volley for a Cure, a public awareness campaign hosted locally in connection with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It also raises funds for the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Foundation.
VFAC was founded six years ago by Lee University Lady Flames volleyball head coach Andrea Hudson who used it to help her young athletes to interact with the Cleveland and Bradley County community. The volleyball players quickly embraced its concept and now work closely each year with a Volley for a Cure Committee which is comprised of volunteers. Some are breast cancer survivors.
The “Flamingo Flock” is a natural fit. Its organizers take the fundraising portion of the activity seriously, but they’re the first to point to the fun they have in carrying it out.
Here’s how it works.
For a price, a friend, family member or loved one can have the front lawn of another friend, family member or loved one bedazzled by a flock of pink flamingo figurines. The innocent birds are placed late at night where they will greet the homeowner the following morning. There they will remain throughout the day — creating some unique neighborhood and motorist conversation along the way — until they are removed free of charge the following night, also under the cloak of darkness.
Volunteer flockers will then help the flamingoes to migrate to yet another yard.
The amount of a flocking customer’s fee will depend on the number of flamingoes requested. The menu includes the Small Flock, a group of 10 flamingoes for a $25 donation to Volley for a Cure; Medium Flock, a group of 20 motionless birds for $35; a Large Flock, a platoon of 35 flamingoes for $50; and the Super Size Flock, an army of 60 feathered friends for a $75 donation.
Those who sponsor flocks in another’s yard may do so anonymously or they may allow their identities to be revealed. It’s a sure bet those who sponsor a flocking can expect a like response from their “victims” if names are disclosed. But then, that’s half the fun.
Flocking is not intended to be mean-spirited nor ill-willed. It’s just a way to raise some money for a great cause while having a little fun in the doing.
For those interested in contracting a Flamingo Flock, simply contact a VFAC Flocking Committee member — Zandra, Angie, Sheri or Melissa — at 423-596-9159 or 423-472-1996. These Flamingo queens will take your information and give you full instructions on what to expect.
Also, homeowners who discover as they leave for work that they were flocked the night before can find plastic-wrapped literature suspended from one of the flamingo necks explaining the cause and what they can do to return the favor.
Committee members ask that victims and neighbors be nice to the flamingoes, aka “the little darlings,” and to leave them in their positions. This kindness will allow their migration to another Cleveland lawn.
For those planning to flock, this reminder: Get your orders in NOW. The 2012 deadline is nearing. Once it is passed, the flamingoes will fly away for a year of deserved rest in preparation for their 2013 assault on Cleveland yards everywhere.