JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several years ago, Andrew Bell, broker-owner of NextHome Assurance Realty in Jacksonville, was asked to dress up as the Blues Brothers and perform with a friend at a Women’s Council of Realtors® event. “I thought, ‘well, I guess this works as my friend (Peter Gruenther) was tall and thin like Dan Aykroyd, and I resembled Jim Belushi (the original Blues Brothers),” says Bell. “We were such a hit that people started asking us to perform at other events.”
One event was for the Realtors® Political Action Committee. “It was at the Pink Flamingo Lounge, so we decided to dress in pink suits,” he says. “People were off their rocker; they loved us,” he says.
Bell decided that they should take advantage of the popularity and the pink suits to do something positive in the community.
“Obviously, the pink suit ties in with breast cancer,” he says.
Through his research, Bell met Jeri Millard, founder of In The Pink.
“It’s a store that provides things people need when they go through chemo and have cancer, like mastectomy bras, wigs, lotions and more. They also have head-shaving parties and yoga,” says Bell, who notes that In The Pink is not just for those with breast cancer, it’s for any type of cancer. “They not only provide physical support but emotional support as well. What I liked the most is that Jeri told me that no matter whether the person has insurance or not, they all get the same stuff. They were providing a service to people who didn’t have the money to get what those with insurance would be able to get easily.”
He says, “We’re in real estate. It’s all about the community. So, with In The Pink, all of the money raised stays in the community. In fact, for every dollar raised, a dollar goes toward helping local people with cancer.”
For Bell and Gruenther, it was the perfect fit.
“Wherever Jeri needs us and whenever Jeri needs us, we’re there to raise awareness and money,” Bell says. “For several years, we had a float in our local Beaches Parade. We’ll perform at a chili cookoff fundraiser, we’ll emcee events. With the last chili cookoff, more than $24,000 was raised. That wasn’t just from us. It’s a whole team that puts on this event.”
For Bell, participating in a charity that helps people in the community is vital.
He adds, “I believe local monies raised should stay in our community. Of course, I want to help everyone, but too often, with bigger charities, you’re sending a quarter of the money out of state. I want to make an impact where I live and work. Let’s go out and raise awareness. Let’s create a buzz. Let’s create some excitement and get people to dig deep into their pockets because the money that they’re spending is helping people here in our community.”
However, Bell says, “the true unsung heroes are the people who we’re helping raise awareness for, and that’s all that matters.”
For more information on In The Pink, go to https://jaxinthepink.com/location/jacksonville-beach/