By late Friday, the village of Dorchester will be “painted in pink” in a unique breast cancer awareness campaign that is catching on beyond our region.

The effort, to place pink lawn signs all over a community was started by a local woman who is currently battling Stage 3 breast cancer.

“I’m a fighter. That’s just in my nature. It is who I am,’” states Bec Matthews.

In February 2019, she began her greatest fight, undergoing a double mastectomy.

“I had three different cancers, and two of them were very invasive, it had to be done right away.”

But the surgery was just the beginning.

“Then I started my journey into the chemotherapy world. So, I did 18 rounds of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation.”

Matthews would come to know, she carries the BRCA2 mutation, which puts her at ongoing risk of cancer.


Bec Matthews is seen in hospital during her cancer fight in this undated photo. (Source : Bec Matthews)

To be proactive, she underwent surgery to remove her ovaries just two weeks ago.

While recovering at home, an idea popped into her head and the 'Paint the Town Pink' sign campaign was born.

In short order, it’s gone from a concept to a reality. A total of 800 signs have been ordered, with the vast majority of them already sold.

The $15 purchase price sends $8 to cancer research. But for Matthews it’s not about the money.

“It’s about the awareness. It’s about people checking their breast, and doing the right thing. And if we saved even one life, or if we stopped something from happening later on, that to me is a win!”


Bec Matthews, who is battling Stage 3 breast cancer and conceived of the 'Paint the Town Pink' campaign in support of breast cancer research, is seen in Dorchester, Ont. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)

Inquiries about 'Paint the Town Pink' are pouring in from as far away as Atlantic Canada.

“I had a gentlemen message me, and he had just lost his wife to breast cancer, and that really hit the core.”

Locally, hundreds of signs will be placed around Dorchester over the coming days, many of them by local business.

Tanner Zelenko is the owner of The Frozen Cow Ice Cream Shop. After losing family members to cancer himself, he immediately ordered a sign, and says he was thrilled to be the first business to receive one Thursday.

“I think that it’s really important, not only for the cause, but to support Bec, because she’s encouraging a lot of community involvement in Dorchester and across southwestern Ontario.”

Matthews is overwhelmed by the response, which she says includes supportive inquires from the Canadian Cancer Society

“I knew it would go pretty well, but I never anticipated in million years, this."

The remaining 'Paint the Town Pink' signs are available for purchase, until sold out, or Oct. 5. Information on how to get a sign is available here.

And Matthews says she has much grander plans for next year, to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.