‘B Pink’ Inspires Hope, Courage For Cancer Survivors
By Maria Sonnenberg, Space Coast Medicine magazine // October 6, 2012
EDITOR’S NOTE: The public is invited to the book launch party of B Pink at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Radisson at the Port, 8701 Astronaut Blvd., Cape Canaveral. Tickets for the black-tie optional event are $150 per person. “B-Pink” is available for purchase at $125 per book. Proceeds from sales will benefit nonprofits that provide support to breast cancer patients. For more information, call 321-480-0685 or CLICK HERE to log on the B Pink Facebook page.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Perhaps no group underscores how hardship can bring people together than the sisterhood of breast cancer survivors.
When Ray Baldino’s wife, Maureen, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, 2011, the Cocoa Beach photographer was amazed at the outpouring of support from women who experienced the same ordeal.
“We met a lot of women who had gone through the same situation and ended up a better, more beautiful person,” said Baldino.
“It’s truly a sisterhood.”
Moved by the love these cancer survivors lavished on his wife, Baldino developed an idea that would record this flood of compassion and guidance. The result was “The B Pink Project,” which culminates in the publication of “B Pink,” a full-color, coffee table book that, through the words and images of breast cancer survivors, inspires and instills hope and courage.
Baldino’s studio is often the site of ladies’ nights that involve a group of gal pals who get together to catch up with each other, enjoy some wine or champagne and sit for the glamorous pictures that are Baldino’s signature. Thus, for Baldino, translating the idea to breast cancer survivors was a piece of cake.
During 13 different occasions, Baldino invited groups of five or six ladies to convene at the studio for an evening of pampering and picture-taking. Brenda Radke, the CEO of Brevard Physicians’ Network, and the Green Turtle Market, donated the gourmet food and wine.
“Brenda Radke has been a huge supporter,” said Baldino.
Brenda’s mother, Carol Allain, is one of the ladies of “The B Pink Project.”
To round out the pampering, Imperial Salon and Sorelli’s, contributed the makeup and hair styling. “B Pink” t-shirts, provided by Dr. Michael Diaz and Nancy Mackay, were a nice souvenir of the evening. For his part, Baldino photographed each of the women during a personalized session, 64 in total.
“This was my way of giving back,” said Baldino.
Each of the photographs is themed around people, places or hobbies that helped the women heal.
“One lady loves horses, so her photo shows her in her riding outfit,” said Baldino.
“Another is a triathlon athlete, so she brought her bike to the studio.”
A woman arrived in a Scottish outfit, bagpipe and all. A lady who enjoys tea with her granddaughter brought the little girl along, as well as tea cups. There was a belly dancer, a natural foods “cocktail waitress” and even Wonder Woman. Ages ranged from a 24-year-old to grandmothers.
Except for an occasional visiting husband or boyfriend, Baldino was the only guy among the gals.
“I almost feel like I’m in their group,” he said.
‘You Are Not Helpless And You Are Not Alone’
The women were asked to write down inspirational thoughts to accompany the photos. “You are not helpless and you are not alone,” wrote cancer survivor Sherry Franklin.
“There are people like us reaching out to you. You are not without hope because we are all hoping for you.”
Maureen Gotay, one of the 64 B-Pink Ladies, wished there was a book like it for her when she was in therapy. “I am proud to be one of the B-Pink powerful women,” said Gotay.
The book debuts at a black tie optional Baldino is organizing Oct. 6 at the Radisson at the Port. “We’re rolling out the pink carpet, literally,” he said.
Each woman will receive a copy of the book free of charge. Baldino has lined up several sponsors to help with the costs of the event, but he is adamant that the party not turn into a fundraiser.
“There won’t be any silent auctions or raffles,” he said. “This is a party to celebrate these ladies.”
“B-Pink” is not the first time Baldino has ventured into publishing. A couple of years ago, he created “Brick by Brick,” a black-and-white volume of the Space Coast’s most interesting individuals.
“This book is completely different,” said Baldino.
“In “Brick by Brick,” the subjects talked about themselves. With “B-Pink,” the women provide inspiration to others. I want this book to be in the hands of newly diagnosed patients, to be by the side of every chemo chair in town. It’s going to pack a wallop.”
Maureen Baldino, a chorus teacher at Cocoa Beach High School, has joined the sisterhood, offering help and encouragement to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Her husband credits the sisterhood for helping her heal.
“I learned so much from these women,” said Baldino.
“They are the most amazing women I’ve ever met in my entire life. They’ve gone through a life-threatening situation and fought hard. My job was to show the rest of the world that these ladies are beautiful, sexy and inspirational women.”