Throughout November, a bright and sparkly pink Christmas tree will sit in a front window of Outdoor Davis, the downtown store on the corner of Second and F streets.
Covered in glittery lights and colorful jewels, the tree will serve as another piece of public art for the Davis community to enjoy, while also raising breast cancer awareness and funds for a foundation that emphasizes early detection of breast cancer through education and testing.
It’s all thanks to three local Girl Scouts who decided to make breast cancer awareness the beneficiary of their community service.
Grace Richey, Emily Rogers and Liz Kalandra — all 15-year-old Davis High School students — have been members of Troop 1765 since they were kindergarteners and their community service over the years has run the gamut from helping children in Africa to donating a furnished dollhouse to the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Now they have turned their attention to women’s health issues, and breast cancer specifically.
After meeting with Davis cancer survivor Ann Murray Paige and hearing her story, the girls decided to focus on a project that could raise both money and awareness for Albie Aware, a Sacramento-based foundation named after Albie Carson, a 50-year resident of Sacramento who died of breast cancer in 2002. The foundation provides funding for everything from breast health education classes to mammography clinics and health fairs, as well as financial assistance and co-pay assistance to women diagnosed with breast cancer.
All money raised by the foundation stays in the Northern California area.
Figuring out how to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer might seem a tall order for three teenagers, but not for these girls, said their troop co-leader, Edie Hannigan.
“These girls are all problem-solvers,” Hannigan said. “They all look at things and say, ‘How can I solve this? How can I help these people.’ ”
Together, they decided on creating a “Tree of Hope.”
They would purchase a small pink Christmas tree, and using donated and purchased beads and supplies, invite the community at large to decorate the tree with wearable art. They contacted several downtown Davis businesses to find one that would host a workshop for the art-making and another that would be willing to display the tree in November. They had no trouble finding willing businesses.
On Saturday, the girls set up shop at the Davis Food Co-op, where shoppers were invited to stop by the table and make a pair of earrings to hang on the tree. On Monday, they planned to deliver the decorated tree to Outdoor Davis where it will remain on display for the rest of the month.
Outdoor Davis will provide information on the Albie Aware Foundation and people who make a donation on the foundation’s website will be eligible to win the tree — jewelry and all.
“We all thought it was a great idea,” Kalandra said. “It’s festive for the holidays, but for any holiday, really.”
The tree raises awareness, Rogers noted, while also bringing the community together in the decorating process.
On Saturday, 4-year-old Thunder Jaco Pope was among the Co-op shoppers who stopped to make a pair of earrings to hang on the tree, as did his sister, 7-year-old Bellavida.
Shoppers of all ages, in fact, contributed wearable art to the tree, resulting in some 150 pieces of jewelry and other wearable art on the tree.
The Girl Scouts have no idea how much money they’ll end up raising for the breast cancer foundation, but if nothing else, they’re pretty sure they’ll raise some awareness.
To learn more about the Albie Aware Foundation or to donate, visit www.albieaware.org or visit Outdoor Davis, 623 Second St.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy