Written by Katie Piacentini Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00
Volunteers and staff of the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support welcomed a Pink Snacks truck at their location in Garden City on Wednesday, Jan. 25, as the breast cancer hotline number, 800-877-8077, will now be displayed on Pink Snacks trucks and snack bags.
Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline offers emotional support and information to people. Of their 100 trained volunteers, most are breast cancer survivors. Their main goal is to “educate, support, empower and advocate for breast cancer patients, professionals and the community.”
Pink Snacks, a company that manufactures potato chips, potato sticks and pretzels, exists to raise funds and create awareness in support of breast cancer organizations. Seventy percent of the proceeds are donated to the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Businessman Damon Greco, whose work is based in Pennsylvania, created Pink Snacks (www.pinksnacks forthecure.com) to honor the life of his mother Nancy Ann who succumbed to inflammatory breast cancer in September 2010.Adelphi learned of Pink Snacks and got into contact with Damon Greco, who offered to put the hotline on the trucks and the bags, which were recently redesigned. He said, “When we heard about this wonderful resource of the Adelphi Breast Cancer Hotline, we knew we wanted to help get the word out so that women in need would know that the hotline is there to help them. We put their number on our bags and on our trucks. We want anyone who needs help to be able to get it.”
In an interview with Healthy Living Digest, Greco told the story of how Pink Snacks came to be. “I was in the restaurant business for 15 years, owning six restaurants outside of Philadelphia. My mother worked for me for those 15 years and she ran three of my busiest places, which were deli/bakeries,” he said, adding that his mother was always a source of encouragement and support for his work.
“Towards the end of her life, she found out she had breast cancer,” Damon said, adding that she was incredibly strong in this battle. One day, while going in for chemotherapy, his mother had a life-changing experience. Before patients receive their chemotherapy, their health insurance cards need to be accepted. While Nancy Ann was waiting in line, she saw a young woman who was there for chemotherapy for breast cancer and this woman’s health insurance was declined, meaning that she would be turned away without treatment. Damon said that his mother was so upset and disgusted to see this happen that she even tried to switch with her, insisting that the young woman should receive her chemotherapy instead. But since chemotherapy is designed for each individual patient, this could not happen.
Feeling that not enough was being done to help women with breast cancer, this experience inspired Nancy Ann to look into different breast cancer organizations, while Damon came up with ideas to raise funds. He first thought about selling pink cupcakes at the delis, but soon realized that a better product would be potato chips. “Chips are cheap and they’re always going out the door,” he said, adding that they are also lightweight and easy to ship.
With the name “Pink Snacks,” the chips (and now pretzels, too) come in colorful bags with the pink ribbon symbol and a banner stating that 70 percent of net proceeds go to the fight against breast cancer. The organization that Pink Snacks donates to is the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Damon and his mother chose this organization because they felt that the area that needed the most attention was legislation, and NBCC concentrates its efforts towards improving public polices surrounding breast cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment. For example, one area of public policy that Damon believes could be improved is that of mammograms vs. ultrasounds. He explained that ultrasounds are more beneficial for women than mammograms, because they detect cancer at an earlier stage when it is easier to treat.
Although Stacy Ann passed away in 2010, her son has continued to expand the company in her memory, and he stated that he feels it is one of his last connections to her. Pink Snacks has grown into other areas through Damon’s partnership with J&G Distribution, which is a national distributor of snack products. So far, the snacks are on the shelves at stores such as Shop Rite, Whole Foods, and Rite Aid in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The retail locations where Pink Snacks can be found will be expanding soon into Maryland, Delaware, Florida, and Puerto Rico. He is also planning on adding new products to the line.
“I know my mom would be very happy to see all of this,” Damon said. Noting that she was a major support for him and that she always encouraged his work, he said, “There would be no Pink Snacks without Stacy Ann.”