LEUCADIA — Over the past 60 years the building that houses the Bar Leucadian has undergone many changes, but none as stark as the current display of pink outer walls and ribbons.
In a sign of solidarity for those who have been impacted by breast cancer and in support of one of his employees who is participating in this year’s Walk for the Cure, owner Martin VanRoosendal said he agreed to paint the bar pink.
The move is a symbolic commemoration of International Cancer Awareness month-October. For many at the bar, cancer is a familiar foe. VanRoosendal’s mother, Ann, died of breast cancer in 1993. Hansen’s grandmother underwent a double mastectomy.
“We’ve had lots of other family members and friends affected by breast cancer,” Hansen said. “This (walk) is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and it really helps that I’ve got so much support,” she said referring to regular customers and her boss. “We’re like a little family.”
Last year over 4,000 participants gathered at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the pre-dawn hours for the kick-off of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Cure. Another 1,500 supporters and crewmembers bustled about as the crowd swelled and the enthusiasm mounted despite looming clouds.
This year the event is slated for Nov. 6 and promises to bring out an even larger crowd according to organizers.
“I’m excited to do it finally,” Hansen said. “Having the bar painted is a constant reminder of me doing this.”
VanRoosendal said the majority of the bar’s clientele likes the new color. “Every once in awhile you get a grump, but most of them like it,” he said. “In fact, there are a ton of walkers who stop and take pictures of the bar.”
Several Susan G. Komen 3-Day Cure participants have made the annual 60-mile journey to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer in the past. However, Hansen, along with her sister and cousin will be walking for the first time.
“I’ve been training,” she said with a smile, as she prepared to hike 12 miles the following day. “It’s a challenge but it’s worth it. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”
While the bright pink building is upbeat, the facts about breast cancer remain sobering. According to the organization’s own statistics, incidence rates of the disease are increasing 5 percent annually in developing countries; a woman dies from breast cancer every 69 seconds; and more than 1.3 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer globally each year.
Hansen hopes to rally the community to support her efforts to find a cure. The bar is hosting a fundraiser on Saturda October 15 from 1 p.m. until 1 a.m. “We’re going to have back to back live bands all day and raffles,” VanRoosendal said. “It’s just a $5 donation but we’ll take more if you want to give it.”