GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For many people, that means it's time to break out a certain color; pink.
People will be dressing, decorating and accessorizing in pink. For one Coast casino, the occasion is perfect to show off a unique gaming feature that has become an annual tradition.
A table game is getting a month-long makeover at the Island View Casino. For the month of October, the blackjack tables are seeing a color change.
"It's a good thing to do. We support it 100 percent," said Director of Table Games, Bo Toche.
Toche enjoys seeing the pink felt table tops again for the second year in a row. When he ordered them this time around, he hoped the tables would do more than just excite guests.
"To make people aware, so they can go get checkups, find out. If you catch it early, you can prevent it," Toche said.
Toche knows first-hand how relentless cancer can be. He survived prostate cancer six years ago.
Now, he feels honored to do his part to raise awareness. The smiling faces on the casino floor mean he must be doing something right.
"They like it, from what we see so far. The employees love doing it," said Toche.
Employees, like blackjack dealer Becky Rhodes, are really getting into it.
"I haven't seen any other casinos on the Coast that do this," said Rhodes.
She gets to see the effect the tables have on guests throughout the month.
"It helps our guests come in and they feel more comfortable, maybe thinking they should go and have their checkup and stuff. I think it's great," said Rhodes.
One of Rhodes' frequent players is Rebecca Byrd. She remembers seeing the pink tables last year.
"I think it's wonderful, I mean, to bring awareness anywhere, even if it's in a casino," said Byrd.
The reminder these tables represent really hits home for Byrd. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, but the diagnoses came with enough time for her to survive. Because of that memory, these tables are more than just a place to play blackjack this month.
"It touches my heart," said Byrd.
The blackjack tables will remain pink through the end of October. The effort was originally the idea of Kathy Santiago. She's the Special Project Manager at Island View, and a breast cancer survivor.