George Washington Bridge Glows Pink in Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The bridge lights will glow pink for the month of October

The George Washington Bridge is glowing pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The 156 LED necklace lights on the bridge were wrapped in pink gel Thursday by Port Authority crews during routine maintenance. They will shine pink for the rest of October -- and each pink layer bears the name of a victim of breast cancer -- or a survivor.

Chris Bonanno, a Port Authority electrician, wanted to find a way to raise awareness around breast cancer after his sister was diagnosed with the disease more than six years ago. He came up with the idea to change the lights on the bridge, and presented it to a group of other agency electricians.

They bought in.

Teri Riva, a Port Authority electrician, placed pink gel around one of the lights Thursday in memory of his mother-in-law Sylvia Riva, who died of breast cancer nearly 40 years ago.

Barbara Abal, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, was able to witness the LED transformation herself. She said she didn't know how many days she'd have left when she got the grim diagnosis, but was thankful for the opportunity to spread awareness about the disease.

"It's really important that people are aware of the disease and early detection is the most important thing to a long time of health and good life," said Abal.

The color pink has become a symbol of solidarity for the Breast Cancer Awareness movement. It was introduced 29 years ago to heighten awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention and cure.

 Follow Marc Santia on Twitter @MarcSantia4NY

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