The Pink Life Saver

The Pink Life Saver, shown here in an artist’s rendering, will soon be wrapped for real.

“The Pink Life Saver” is almost a wrap.

Just in time for its yearly “Men for the Cure” event to benefit breast cancer care and prevention, University of Colorado Hospital is preparing to put the finishing touches on its first mobile mammography unit, which will soon bring breast cancer screening services to women.

The Pink Life Saver, shown here in an artist’s rendering, will soon be wrapped for real.

Nearly complete, the unit awaits the capper, a distinctive pink wrap bearing “The Pink Life Saver” name, along with names and logos of the hospital, co-sponsor King Soopers, Men for the Cure, the CU School of Medicine and Summit Bodyworks, the Commerce Citybased company that custom-built the unit.

Summit Bodyworks is currently installing the wrap, which is supposed be completed today. The hospital will unveil “The Pink Life Saver” to a wider audience at the 12th annual Men for the Cure event Oct. 16.

Funds raised by Men for the Cure, along with money donated by King Soopers to the CU Foundation, paid for the unit, which is fully equipped to provide breast cancer screenings to women around the metro Denver area.

On the road

It will get rolling soon – to the hospital’s family and internal medicine clinics and to King Soopers locations that house The Little Clinic, a Tennessee-based network that offers in-store primary health care and education delivered by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Bockstahler (left) looks to the back of the unit, where the mammography scanner will be hooked up. A changing room is to the right.

The Breast Imaging Department plans to begin scheduling patients for screenings in The Pink Life Saver at the end of the month, said Dana Knapp, the hospital’s manager of breast imaging. Shortly thereafter, the unit should begin its one-day-a-week route. If the service is successful, the hospital would like to expand the service to corporate clients, she added.

The 38-foot-long unit includes a mammography unit and workstation, waiting area and changing room for privacy. Mammographer Deena Friesen will handle the screenings; Gary Booth will drive.

Winnebago produced the shell for Summit, said project manager Richard Bockstahler during a visit to the facility in mid-September. Summit was one of four companies, and the only one from Colorado, that bid to produce the unit.

Think pink

The distinctive concept for the mobile unit emerged from creative sessions with Denver-based Cactus Marketing and Communications, said Rick Plummer, a marketing strategist with UCH.

Plummer said the Marketing Department started working with the Breast Imaging Department six to eight months ago to design a distinctive campaign for its mobile unit, starting with online research of other mobile mammography units. “All of us were looking for the best of other programs around the country,” he said.
Workers begin installing The Pink Life Saver wrap on October 11. The vehicle will be unveiled at the 12th annual Men for the Cure event on October 16.

The hospital wanted a vehicle constructed from the ground up, Plummer added. “The idea was to get a completely new build, not a retrofit of something that already existed.”

Cactus, a longtime UCH collaborator, came in to provide creative input. “Breast Imaging wanted to get it right the first time and create something that would be recognizable,” Plummer said.

After initial meetings with Plummer and Knapp, Cactus presented several concepts for the unit to Christina Finlayson, MD, director of the Breast Center; Lara Hardesty, MD, chief of breast imaging; and President and CEO John Harney.

“We were all looking for a theme that would resonate with women,” Plummer said. The Pink Life Saver was the clear choice. “We felt it had its own persona, and that would give us more legs for an ongoing campaign.”

He said the unit is a “clinic on wheels” designed to move patients through easily. The exterior includes an appointment phone number and a website address for more information.

“The idea Breast Imaging and the entire hospital want to get across to women is that there are no more excuses for not getting a screening because of inconvenience or a lack of time,” Plummer said. “We want to break down those barriers.”

The hospital will place posters promoting the unit in each family and internal medicine clinic and produce cards with the appointment phone number, Plummer said. Work is underway on a promotional package for potential corporate customers, he added.

“This project will go far beyond the UCH system,” Plummer predicted. “The hospital and the entire Breast Imaging team wants The Pink Life Saver to be of benefit to the entire community.”