HUNTINGTON — Breast cancer survivors joined family, friends and the doctors who treated them Monday night to illuminate downtown Huntington in a pink glow.

During a ceremony dubbed “Paint the Town Pink” at Pullman Square, survivors shared some of their stories before flipping a human-sized light switch. For the month of October, Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and Pullman Square will be lit with various shades of pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The theme of the evening was “stronger together,” which was reinforced with a video presentation of survivors thanking the people who helped them get through their diagnoses, treatment and remission.

One of the survivors to tell her story was Jinnie Knight, a nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital. Knight was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and was declared cancer-free by June. She got through the ordeal thanks to the support of her daughter Alli, she said.

“Nobody knows when they are going to face a diagnosis like breast cancer. When it does hit you, it can sometimes blindside you,” Knight said. “But when you have support with (you) the whole way and family, it makes the difference.”

Knight said she was also supported by her physician, Dr. Benjamin Moosavi, and his team of nurses. They helped her through her treatment and made sure she was never alone, she said.

Another survivor to tell her story was T.C. Clements, a fourth-grade teacher at Highlawn Elementary School. Clements said her students helped her get through treatment 15 years ago. She wore a hot-pink wig on one of her first days back to school, which kept everyone laughing, she said.

Answering some of the children’s questions about cancer helped her come to terms with it, including whether she was bald or not. She surprised her students by taking off her bandana to show them, she said.

“They were available to ask any question, it didn’t bother me what they wanted to know,” Clements said. “It made it a whole lot easier because when you try to hide it from the kids, then it makes them think, ‘Maybe she is going to die.’”

Clements said the whole ordeal opened her eyes to how many people love and support her. She received cards and messages from people she didn’t even know, she said.

“The journey was well worth it,” Clements said. “I got to educate my kids on breast cancer, we got to spread love and we got to give out hats and scarves. We just made it better for people going through it.”

Monday’s event was sponsored by Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Downtown Huntington Partners INC.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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