PALM BEACH — The landmark Royal Park Bridge connecting West Palm Beach and Palm Beach turned a shimmering pink Friday night.
The lighting kicked off two weekends of Susan G. Komen for the Cure events to benefit breast cancer programs as the organization itself marks 30 years of leadership in the breast cancer movement.
Nancy Brinker, Komen's founder and CEO and a Palm Beach resident, was joined for Friday's bridge lighting by Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio and West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio at the Chapel by the Lake on Flagler Drive just after sunset. They flipped a switch that lighted the so-called middle bridge with pink, the signature color of the fight against breast cancer.
Nicki and Ira Harris sponsored the lighting. It marked the first time the seven-year-old bridge has been bathed in pink - or any other color besides white lights.
The Palm Beach couple said they wanted to help send a message that Susan G. Komen For The Cure is a bridge to research, hope and a cure for breast cancer.
The pink lights will be in place for two weeks.
Meanwhile, tonight is the second annual Susan G. Komen Perfect Pink Party at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.
The gala's honorary co-chairs are Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and wife Grace and Gov. Rick Scott and first lady Ann Scott. The Scotts are expected to attend. Last year's gala raised more than $850,000 to support Komen's work in national research and in the South Florida area.
The annual Race for the Cure is Jan. 28 in West Palm Beach.
The organization Brinker founded has grown since 1982 to become the world's largest and most influential breast cancer organization, funding almost $2 billion to research and community outreach programs in more than 50 countries.
Locally, Komen's South Florida Affiliate has provided more than $16 million to local breast cancer and women's health programs, funding nearly $1.5 million for local breast cancer programs in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties last year alone.
Brinker founded the organization after promising her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer.