Gwinnett shows its true color
Hair dying kicks off county's breast cancer awareness events

LAWRENCEVILLE - Marc Payzant walked out of the Joanie Parker Hair Studio on Saturday with his goatee dyed pink.

The new hue wasn't a dye job gone terribly wrong. The Suwanee resident, along with his two daughters, 11-year-old Maddie and 7-year-old Darby, was showing his support for breast cancer awareness during the third annual Pink Streak Party at the Duluth salon.

"I did the same thing last year," he said.

The permanent color should last about a week until Payzant trims his goatee. An independent consultant, he didn't think his current client would have a problem with the new hue.

"I am on a gig right now with a health care company," he said, "so it will be real neat when I show up supporting breast cancer (awareness)."

For a minimum donation of $5 to the American Cancer Society, stylists with Joanie Parker Hair Studio and Jestin Lamar's Haute Heads Hair Salon were offering permanent or temporary pink streaks.

Cheri Pegel, receptionist for the Duluth salon, was already sporting a touch of pink in her medium-length, dark hair. Three years ago, the Suwanee resident walked into the Joanie Parker Hair Studio to have all her hair cut off before starting chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer the next day.

"For me, it's like an anniversary," Pegel said of the annual event. "It's a wonderful thing. I'm so thankful that (Joanie Parker) does it. Anything to ... raise money for (the American Cancer Society) and help people with breast cancer and maybe help find a cure, any little thing is great."

Last year, the Pink Streak Party raised more than $4,600 for the American Cancer Society. This year's goal was $6,000.

Joining Joanie Parker Hair Studio, various organizations are gearing up for a monthlong push to promote breast cancer awareness and early detection of what the American Cancer Society has identified as the leading diagnosed cancer in Gwinnett County.

As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off Thursday, pink - the hue that has become a symbol of awareness of the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in the nation - may become the new black.

"I think pink daily now because the Breast Cancer 3-Day is such an integral part of my life," said Barbara Mock, founder and captain of Tutus for Tatas, a locally-based team that participates in an annual walk in Atlanta that benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The Dacula resident has friends who have battled breast cancer and her sister-in-law was diagnosed with the disease just weeks ago.

"Think pink means that we need to be cognizant of what is happening with women and breast cancer," she said.

Upcoming events supporting breast cancer awareness in Gwinnett include the American Cancer Society's third annual Pink Ribbon Classic on Tuesday (www.pinkribbonclassic.org), a "pink out" - those who attend should wear the color pink - during Mill Creek's Oct. 9 football game against Peachtree Ridge (www.millcreekhighschool.org) and the Rock 'n Rib Run for Breast Cancer 5K on Oct. 17 (www.active.com).