GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - They didn’t run this year at the annual Carter’s Champions Pink Dress Run Block Party. Event coordinators decided running a 5K with masks because of COVID-19 would have been prohibitive.
Participants did still get the chance to strut their colors.
It took Josh Ervin about two hours to get his costume ready.
“The crazy stuff I have hidden away,” he said with a laugh.
He knows the real purpose behind the event.
“Everybody has a friend or family member that’s been affected by breast cancer, and I’m just here to bring awareness," he said.
He had hopes of replacing Hue Snowden as last year’s “Mister Pink Dress Run” – a title representing more than manly beauty.
“Man, it’s all about raising money for people with cancer,” Snowden said. “And now this year, everything is staying local here in South Mississippi. So, that’s a big deal.”
It’s also a big deal for the event’s executive director Liz Gaulke.
“I think we’ve been very successful,” she said. “And, we knew it was a risk whether people would come or couldn’t come. Yeah, it’s not our 5K run or even our fun run, but everybody’s having a great time, and that’s what it’s all about, and raising money for Memorial Hospital Foundation. That’s been going really well.”
All proceeds are to assist local breast cancer patients with treatments and services.
Lulu’s Crew, started by Gina Locascio and populated by her friends from Louisiana, was here to help make it a success.
They came this year with nearly four times the number from 2019.
Their costume inspired by Poppy from the Trolls.
Their hope is inspired by their friend and breast-cancer survivor Laura Unger.
“I was diagnosed 14 years ago. I’m a breast cancer survivor and just being on the stage as a survivor, knowing that my friends are here to support me," she said.
Now, on this day, she can celebrate another birthday.
“I had two small kids,” Unger said. “I was diagnosed at 39, and I knew I had to live for them.”
Her advice for those going through what she did.
“Don’t give up. Attitude is everything. And there is somebody out there that is willing to help, willing to support. Just ask.”