Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco clerk's breast cancer fight makes fashion statement

Pasco County Clerk of Court Paula O’Neil is battling breast cancer. Florida Hospital is selling shirts with her image to provide cancer screenings to uninsured, low-income women.

Facebook

Pasco County Clerk of Court Paula O’Neil is battling breast cancer. Florida Hospital is selling shirts with her image to provide cancer screenings to uninsured, low-income women.

Armed with pink boxing gloves, the woman on the white T-shirt appears to pack quite a punch.

"Fight Like A Girl," the shirt says, a reference to beating breast cancer.

If the face looks familiar, it's because it is. It belongs to Paula O'Neil, Pasco County's clerk of the circuit court. Visit www.pascoclerk.com and her smiling face pops up there.

O'Neil, 57, who in May announced she had breast cancer, is among the "warriors" in the Pink Army, Florida Hospital's latest campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer and encourage early detection and treatment.

O'Neil was the keynote speaker at the hospital's recent Women's Health & Wellness Day event at Saddlebrook Resort. Her speech struck a chord with Maureen Moore, communications director for Saint Leo University. She suggested the hospital sell shirts with O'Neil's image to provide mammograms to uninsured, low-income women.

"I was honored they chose me," O'Neil said. "I want to do whatever I can to spread the message about early detection and getting tests done."

O'Neil, whose mother had breast cancer and who was a regular participant in fundraising events, went public with her cancer, announcing it in an email titled "Choosing Happiness."

She picked the Bee Gees' 1977 disco hit Stayin' Alive as her theme song and promised to "fight like a girl and win."

The shirts sell for $12.99 and are available in the hospital gift shop and the Health and Wellness Center Logo Shop or by calling the Foundation office at (813) 929-5497.

The shirts so far have raised about $600 for the mammography fund, according to hospital spokeswoman Tracy Clouser.

"Only about 75 Paula shirts are left," she said. They'll be on sale until Nov. 30 or until they sell out.

In the Pink Army campaign, each "soldier" completes missions to move up the ranks. These missions include things like getting a mammogram, recruiting friends, attending events and throwing a "pink party." Once completed, each mission allows soldiers to get Pink Army rewards.

Those who sign up also get dog tags, which get them discounts at more than 100 retailers including many stores and restaurants at the Shops at Wiregrass. Purchases of Pink Army gear and donations benefit the Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel Center for Women's Health to provide mammograms to underinsured or uninsured women.

O'Neill underwent a mastectomy and a series of chemotherapy treatments. On Oct. 15, she got to take part in a tradition at Moffitt Cancer Center by ringing a large bell after her last chemo session.

"I rang it loud and long," she said.

O'Neil, who continued to work during her treatments and even received the Lady Justice Award from the West Pasco Legal Support Association, said she has one reconstructive surgery remaining.

She was able to save most of her hair through the use of a chilled, insulated cap worn during chemotherapy.

"I'm really in a good place physically," she said. "I'm getting stronger and stronger."

Visit www.jointhepinkarmy.com for more information about breast cancer and the Pink Army program. To order a Paula O'Neil T-shirt, visit Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel's gift shop or call (813) 929-5497.

>>to learn more

Join the battle

Visit www.jointhepinkarmy.com for more information about breast cancer and the Pink Army program. To order a Paula O'Neil T-shirt, visit Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel's gift shop or call (813) 929-5497.

Pasco clerk's breast cancer fight makes fashion statement 10/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa man crashes into parked cars, gate at the Islamic Society of Tampa Mosque

    Crime

    A Tampa man intentionally drove his pick-up truck into two parked vehicles before smashing through the locked gate of the Islamic Society of Tampa Mosque, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Shaun H. Urwiler, 42, was arrested July 16 for intentionally driving his pick-up truck into two parked vehicles before smashing through the locked gate of the Islamic Society of Tampa Mosque, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. USF hoops to play at Indiana in November

    Blogs

    The USF men's basketball team is set to get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse in non-conference play next season.

  3. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  4. Florida's school grades improve as educators get the hang of a new system

    Testing

    Following a trend, Florida's school grades showed strong gains in the third year after the state changed its grading formula and the standardized tests that students take every year.

    After finding out earlier Wednesday that her school went from a low C to an A,  Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates with her students in the YMCA After School program at the school in St. Petersburg. Houston is giving a high five to rising fifth grader Jonaven Viera. Rising 4th grader Jonathan Cafaro is in foreground with his back to camera. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  5. Tampa Bay woman, 11-year-old boy had sex up to 20 times the year their baby was born, detectives say.

    Crime

    TAMPA — A woman sexually battered an 11-year-old Brandon boy, got pregnant and raised the baby for three years before a tip led to her arrest, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.

    Marissa Mowry, now 25,  had sex as many as 20 times in 2014 with a boy who was 11 when he impregnated her, Hillsborough County detectives allege. [Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]