Rose Fallon woke up Wednesday morning and noticed something unusual outside her home. Her front lawn was adorned with a half-dozen hot pink flamingos, along with a sign that read, “You’ve been flocked: In memory of our newest angel Lydia Krawec.”
“I was so surprised,” said Fallon, 53, of Floral Park. “It’s an honor to be flocked.”
This is the first year that “flocking” has been incorporated to promote Liz’s Day, an annual festival in Floral Park aimed at raising breast cancer awareness. The day is dedicated to Elizabeth McFarland, a Floral Park resident who battled breast cancer before dying in 1999 at age 42.
The 14th annual festival will be held on Saturday from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. at the Floral Park Recreation Center. The event’s late-September date is designed to raise awareness heading into October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“This new tradition is to honor Lydia Krawec, who passed away in March,” said McFarland’s niece, Emily Coughlin, 21. “She was a very active member of the Liz’s Day committee for many years.”
One of the Liz’s Day founders, Megan Allen, got the idea of flocking last October when she heard about it through a friend in Mount Sinai. She was told about Mount Sinai cheerleaders flocking lawns to raise money for their cheerleading competition as well as supporting breast cancer research.
“We thought it would be a nice testament to Lydia, something that she would have really liked,” said Floral Park’s Allen, 55, of Krawec, who was 42 when she died. “It’s just something we really wanted to do.”
The four flocking teams consisted of Coughlin’s team, and cheerleaders from New Hyde Park, Floral Park and Sewanhaka high schools. They flock homes of people who have helped the Liz’s Day cause, honoring their work while at the same time getting the word out about the event.
“It really caused a lot of buzz,” said Allen.
Every night since Sept. 1, Coughlin and her team members have gone out flocking houses. Wednesday they reached a total of 80 houses and will continue until Friday night.
“We’re looking to get the next generation involved,” said Allen. “It’s nice to see younger girls and even some boys doing it.”
Liz’s Day also raises around $90,000 every year and has donated over $500,000 to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for breast cancer research, according to Allen. For the second year New York State Assemb. Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) and the Nassau University Medical Center will hold a mammogram screening at the event. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. women over 40 who have not received a mammogram in the past year are encouraged to participate. Screenings are free for women who don’t have health insurance.
Next year, the flockers hope to turn their flamingo invasion into its own fundraising activity.
“It’s nice to see them around the neighborhood, they remind you that Liz’s Day is coming up,” said Allen. “It’s a great way to get the word out.”