Photo by Heather Middleton
By Maria-Jose Subiria
In an effort to raise money for breast cancer research, Delta flight attendants are going pink.
Delta Air Lines' optional pink uniforms for flight attendants are the result of efforts by Alice Ramsey, a flight attendant for the airline since 1987.
Ramsey, 57, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. After a lumpectomy and eight rounds of chemotherapy, she said she was getting ready to return to work when a friend, who is a seamstress, made for her a pink flight attendant's uniform.
"While I was off work, I had lots of time to think," she explained.
Ramsey, of Brooks, Ga., said she had an idea to involve female flight attendants wearing a similar dress to promote Delta Air Lines' fundraising efforts for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
"The dress can raise a lot of money," said Ramsey. "People see it, they are just amazed a company would have a uniform in pink for just a month."
Leslie Parker, a spokesperson for Delta Air Lines, said the airline has been a partner with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation since 2005.
Corporate officials agreed to let Ramsey wear the dress during the month of October 2007, to test its effectiveness in raising funds for the cause.
"I raised over $3,000 [that] month," Ramsey said.
She said the following year, the uniform was available for flight attendants to purchase. The pink uniforms are not mandatory, she added.
Ramsey said some fundraising activities Delta Air Lines takes part in include selling pink lemonade on flights, where 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
According to Ramsey, Delta Air Lines' Facebook page also allows users to create a virtual pink lemonade stand, to share their stories, honor loved ones and donate to the foundation.
According to Delta's Facebook page, the airline has a goal of raising $1 million.
Other fundraising initiatives include providing individuals with an option to donate $5 by texting "DRINKPINK" to 27722, she said. Standard texting rates apply.
Ramsey said the year before the dress was available for flight attendants, the company raised $27,000 for the cause. The following year, the airline collected $250,000, and in October 2009, $1 million was raised.
"The personal impact breast cancer has had on me and so many of our customers, employees and families has motivated Delta to always give more in our support of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation," Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said in a prepared statement. "I've launched the first pink lemonade stand on Delta's Facebook page in honor of my mother, who died from this horrible disease many years ago. The combined efforts of more than 75,000 Delta employees and millions more of our customers are making a difference in raising funds necessary to find a cure."
"I am glad for every day," Ramsey said of surviving breast cancer. "I cherish every day ... just more so."
"You have to take it one step at a time and rely on family and friends," she added. "Early detection is the key. Mine was found really early."