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Fly the Pink Ribbon

Delta colors the friendly skies in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Gilda Radner, Molly Ivins, Ingrid Bergman and millions of women (and a small number of men) have lost their lives to breast cancer. In the U.S., more than 180,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually (according to 2004 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and approximately 40,000 succumb to the disease annually. Nationally, it’s the fifth-leading cause of death.

Though awareness, treatment and funding for combating the disease woefully lagged for decades, fundraising and prevention initiatives have helped and encouraged those coping with the disease. Many corporations have launched fundraising and promotional efforts to assist those on the front lines of fighting breast cancer.

In recognition of the October observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Delta Air Lines adopted a whimsical, colorful approach. In 2005, the carrier’s technical-operations center painted a distinctive, “pink ribbon” plane, a Boeing 757 that flies year-round. Through the donations of proceeds from pink-lemonade sales aboard the plane, as well as customer donations, Delta has raised nearly $1 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation since the plane’s inception. The plane touched down on October 23 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, to promote support for the Jamaica Cancer Society.

According to Katie Connell, Delta’s national media-relations manager, the plane has flown nearly three million miles throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.

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