ALTON - The 106th Alton Halloween Parade is a huge event for the entire Riverbend region, but for Alton Mayor David Goins and his family, the night took on special meaning as they represented Alton and raised awareness for breast cancer.
The mayor and his wife, Sheila Goins, worked with their family and friends to create a “Barbies for Breast Cancer Awareness” theme, complete with pink costumes and a car outfitted with Barbie memorabilia and pink ribbons. Sheila rode in the parade with the Goins’ friend Tina Mills, an Alton woman currently undergoing treatment for stage three breast cancer at Alton Memorial Hospital.
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“It is the last day of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and so we still wanted to give Breast Cancer Awareness Month a nice sendoff and just bring awareness,” Mayor David Goins said.
The mayor partnered with Alton Memorial Hospital to share some of their educational materials. While the group had plenty of candy to give to the hundreds of people in the crowd, they also came prepared with pink bracelets and informational pamphlets about breast cancer prevention.
Mills, the family friend who inspired the Goinses to center breast cancer awareness in their parade float this year, rode alongside Sheila in a car decorated with “Barbie” materials. She said the educational pamphlet had “good information” about how to prevent and catch breast cancer, and she complimented Alton Memorial Hospital for their work.
“It’s a good hospital. They’ve got good doctors there. It’s a good place to be if you’re going through something like this,” she said, adding, “Make sure everybody gets checked.”
Sheila explained that the group decided to mark the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and thought the “Barbie” movie would be a “trendy” tie-in. They enjoyed decorating the vehicles and dressing up. But above that, they wanted to spread a meaningful message to the parade attendees.
“Everyone knows someone who’s in the fight,” Sheila said. “There will be a plethora of people watching this parade who have lost someone or maybe know someone in the struggle, or perhaps even in the struggle themselves…We have really been blessed to be able to be a part of the parade for many, many years. We figured, hey, if eyes are gonna be on us, we want a message to be declared.”
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