The viral video, the Pink Glove Dance, began in 2009 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. Since then there have been hundreds of PGD videos, thousands of PGD dancers, and more than a million dollars in donations from Medline. If you haven’t seen the video, do yourself a favor and check it out! It shows more than 200 caregivers dancing to “Down” by Jay Sean and has been featured in news stories all across the country. Want to learn more or join the PGD movement? Read on! Co-founder of the Medline Pink Glove Dance campaign and senior marketing manager Emily Somers gives us the skinny on the Pink Glove Dance. (photo credit)
How did the idea to start the dance come to be?
As a medical supply company that touches nearly every aspect of health care, we launched a breast cancer awareness campaign several years ago because the disease touched so many of our employees and customers – many of whom are nurses and clinicians. The meaning behind our pink gloves is two-fold – they symbolize breast cancer awareness and also act as a “conversation starter” for nurses and clinicians who are on the front lines of care. We then came across the “JK Entrance Dance” video that went viral on YouTube…and it got us thinking. Dance could be an incredible and creative vehicle to honor care-givers and spread the message that breast cancer survivors aren’t alone. Not really knowing what was going to happen, we teamed up with 200 eager health care workers at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon to make the first Medline Pink Glove Dance video. Within days of posting it on YouTube, it sparked an overwhelming response and generated millions of views and comments.
What are the goals of the dance?
Our goal is to reach more people with the message of joy, hope and prevention by increasing the number of participants in the Medline Pink Glove Dance video competition. And each year, we help remind those who are facing cancer that they are not alone. In 2011, when we launched the competition, we had 139 entries and almost doubled that in the second year with 275 videos featuring 80,000 passionate dancers. This year we’re taking the competition to a whole new level by expanding it to Australia, Europe, New Zealand and Panama. Through the competition’s participants and our own donations, we continually raise more money for local and national breast cancer charities.
To date, Medline has donated more than $1.2 million to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, which has helped provide nearly 200,000 mammograms for women who cannot afford them and to fund free educational resources.
How has the Pink Glove Dance helped in breast cancer awareness?
It humbles us whenever we hear from advocates or survivors from around the world that being a part of the Medline Pink Glove Dance gave them a reason to smile, get silly and ultimately, celebrate life. We created this dynamic and infectious campaign not just for health care workers and breast cancer patients, but with them, so that one day we can make breast cancer history. What is really amazing is that the Medline Pink Glove Dance has taken on a life of its own. It truly is a world-wide movement. If you go on YouTube, you’ll see hundreds of pink glove dance videos made by students, survivors, firefighters, mothers, daughters – people from all walks of life and from all around the world who are having fun and spreading the message of hope in the face of a very serious disease.
What has been the most fun part about creating the Pink Glove Dance movement?
Each year, we are blown away by the participants’ enthusiasm, energy and talent. Every year they take it to a new level. We’ve seen groups bust out head spins, rally crowds at football games, rev and roll with motorcycle crews and flaunt pink feather boas. Last year’s winning team even jumped out of an airplane for their video! It takes a lot of guts to dance on video for the world to see, but it takes true courage to stand up to help end breast cancer.
How does your new category School Health impact schools?
To honor and encourage schools to participate in the competition, School Health Corporation, a provider of medical supplies and equipment to school nurses, athletic trainers and other specialty health care professionals, is sponsoring a special contest for schools participating in the competition. The winning schools receive free school supplies and a donation to the breast cancer charity of their choice. It’s been so amazing to see schools link up with hospitals and even fire departments to help spread the message of the campaign in communities across the country.
What are the future goals for the Pink Glove Dance Movement?
No other breast cancer awareness campaign energizes and unites clinicians and communities the way the Medline Pink Glove Dance does. Our goal is always trying to get more people involved and this year we took the competition world-wide. Next year… stay tuned because we have more ideas to take the competition to the next level.
What are your suggestions for a great dance video entry?
If anything, get as many people involved as possible and have fun! This campaign celebrates life and gets people moving. While each person’s journey with breast cancer is different, there’s a common thread in all of our submissions – creativity, imagination and heart.
How do people join the dance?
If you weren’t able to join this year’s competition, you can still take part in the fun. Just head to pinkglovedance.com on Oct. 25 to view all the videos and vote for your favorite. We’ve already started planning for next year’s competition so stay tuned for those details!
What is your signature dance move and song?
I have a great love and respect for music. It’s a wonderful way to let loose and express yourself. For me, my favorite dance move is anything that makes a group burst out in excitement. We should all celebrate life, live in the moment and come together with friends, family and co-workers to fight this disease.