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FIGHTING CANCER WITH FLAMINGOES

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / March 16, 1998

LAPLACE – Plastic pink flamingoes may be retro-1950s as far as lawn ornaments go, but some flamingoes are popping up around town to battle cancer.

People are beginning to notice a flock of birds in their yards, thanks to Vic and Bobbie Zaidain and their daughter, Christine Troxlair.

The way the program works, Christine said, is that a flock of flamingoes are planted in the yard of an unsuspecting person, sponsored by one of their friends who paid for the privilege.

The person comes home, or awakens in the morning, to discover the flamingoes, all tagged with telephone numbers and an explanation. Thetags read, in part, “For me to fly away, call my keeper.”For $10, one flamingo will be picked up. For $15, one will be sent on toanother unsuspecting friend. For $50, the whole five-bird flock will besent on to an unsuspecting friend.

All income goes directly to the American Cancer Society to provide services for cancer patients and help fund research.

Troxlair, an EMT for Acadian Ambulance, and her father, Vic, owner of Gold Eagle Security, got into the flamingo-flock business because of Christine’s sister, Laura, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

Thanks to chemotherapy, Laura is virtually clean of the disease now.

“I’ve transported a lot of cancer patients,” Troxlair said, “but this really hit home.”Troxlair is also active in the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life. The event is held annually in Slidell, but a River Parishes Relay forLife is planned at East St. John High School’s Joe Keller Stadium April 25.Runners and walkers will be sponsored by donors to participate in the 12- hour walkathon, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.”We want up to 30 teams of 10 to 15 persons each team,” Troxlair added.

“Our goal is $50,000 for the area.”Local sponsorship is also flocking. River Parish Hospital has kicked in,along with Hibernia Bank, Texaco/Star Enterprises of St. James Parish,Bank of LaPlace and Marathon Oil, among others.

One highlight of the event will be the placing and lighting of luminaries, or small candles in holders, along the route of the Relay for Life. Each ofthe candles is in memory of a victim of cancer, sponsored by donors.

“It’s a moving ceremony,” Troxlair noted.

Anyone interested in the Relay for Life or sponsoring a flock of pink flamingoes is asked to contact Vic Zaidain at 652-5672 or 652-9133.

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