WEIRTON - After what can only be described as a "very difficult year," Serra Village Retirement Community's Rhonda Quattrochi said the chance to celebrate the victories in life - four of them, to be exact - was just too good to pass up.
So Quattrochi convinced some 69 of her staff members and residents to bounce, shimmy and otherwise ham it up in the halls of Serra Village for a four-minute video celebrating breast cancer awareness, their entry in the 2012 Pink Glove Competition.
Sponsored by Medline, the contest is designed to draw the national spotlight to breast cancer awareness and prevention. This year, 60,000 health care workers, students, firefighters and police officers from 260 communities across the country entered the video contest.
CONTEST — Helen Barnabei, left, and Edna DiCarlo were among the 69 staff members and residents at Serra Village Retirement Community who volunteered to be part of the facility’s Pink Glove Dance contest entry. Sponsored by Medline, the nationwide contest is designed to spotlight breast cancer prevention and awareness. The group submitting the video that gets the most votes from Facebook users will get $10,000 to donate to the charity of its choice. Second- and third-place finishers get $5,000 and $2,000, respectively. Barnabei and DiCarlo are Grace Cottage residents at Serra Manor.
Facebook users will choose the top three videos: the group submitting the video that gets the most Facebook votes will get $10,000 to donate to the charity of their choice; the second-highest vote-getter will get $5,000 to donate, and third-place, $2,000 for charity.
To vote, go to www.pinkglovedance.com, click on the box that says "Start Voting." Scroll down to the "S" listings, locate the Serra Village video entry and click to watch; if you have a Facebook account and you appreciate Serra Village's efforts, all you'll have to do is click "vote."
Which, of course, is exactly what Quattrochi is hoping the community will do.
"We put a lot of effort into it," Quattrochi said, though admitting it won't be easy. Last year's winner, Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, S.C., snagged more than 61,000 Facebook votes. "There's a lot of competition out there. There were 260 videos submitted this year, that's up from last year. There's some stiff competition."
She doesn't mind admitting they need the emotional lift.
"We've had a bad year," Quattrochi said, referencing the sudden death last November of a certified activities director at the too-young age of 49, the death of a certified nursing assistant and the death of her father, Lou Serra, the founder and CEO of Serra Village, in July to cancer. Also during the year, two employees survived breast cancer, she said, while others have loved ones battling cancer at home.
"I just thought the employees needed something to pull them together as a team," she said. "And we did it to support breast cancer awareness, because we have several survivors in our buildings, both residents and employees. We just thought it would be an uplifting thing to do, and it would support a good cause."
The video includes brief cameos by an accommodating canine named "Charlotte," whose owner, Michelle Littleton, works in the medical records department. Quattrochi said they'd originally worked a cat into the script as well, "but she didn't make the cut."
Then there's the moment nearly two minutes in when the sides of an oversized pink-wrapped gift box box fall away to reveal four triumphant women inside Nora Coleman, Martha Wyatt, Mary Burskey and Lisa Brown, Serra Village's four breast cancer survivors.
"The residents really loved it," she added. "There's a part in it where they were doing their exercises, they really practiced that. They enjoyed seeing themselves in the video; having them involved, that was another reason we did it. It made them feel like part of the community, it let them give back a little and feel needed."
Kathy Yates, a social worker at Serra Village, choreographed the moves, set to the Best Day Ever's "You Won't Dance Alone," one of six pre-determined songs they could dance to.
The Serra Village community includes Weirton Geriatric Center Long-Term Care Facility, Serra Manor Assisted Living Facility and Grandview Terrace Independent Living Apartments.
Quattrochi is administrator of Weirton Geriatric Center and Serra Manor.