Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge will turn teal, spotlighting ovarian cancer awareness

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Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge has few lights on it, but it is brilliantly illuminated from land positioned lights. The bridge is 225 feet tall, 24 foot wide roadway, sits 15 feet off the water at test and averages 5500 lifts a year.

Photo: Mike Zerby, Star Tribune 2002

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When Kristine Greer decided to call attention to ovarian cancer in her hometown of Duluth, she looked to the sky.

Folks in Duluth will do the same Sept. 14 and 15, when two city landmarks — the Aerial Lift Bridge and Enger Tower — will sparkle in teal-colored lights.

That includes the 32 enormous bridge lights, roughly 2 feet wide, whose teal-colored lenses required some serious installation skills and cutting of government red tape.

“I wanted to raise awareness [of ovarian cancer] and I thought, ‘Light up that big beautiful bridge,’ ” said Greer, executive director of Charlene’s Light: A Foundation for Ovarian Cancer. “People will wonder what it’s about.”

Teal is the official color of the ovarian cancer awareness campaign, and the Duluth event is among hundreds nationwide in September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. In addition to the teal lights, which flip on that Saturday night, a fundraising golf tournament, art sale and dinner cruise are slated for the weekend.

Too many women are unaware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, sometimes called a “silent killer,’’ said Greer, an ovarian cancer survivor whose foundation is named after her friend Charlene Postigo, who died from the disease. Those symptoms include abdominal or pelvic pain and bloating.

Putting the teal spotlight on the cancer, however, took tenacity. Greer said she approached city officials in January, and was given a list of agencies that needed to approve the project. It included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, the federal government and the Duluth City Council.

“It was nonstop pounding of the pavement,” Greer said.

But by June, the government agencies had approved the plan, laying the groundwork for one of the more unusual events for the cancer campaign.

The Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, based in Minneapolis, also has events scheduled for the month, including a walk/run this Saturday at Rosland Park in Edina. For more information, go to www.charleneslight.org or www.mnovarian.org.

 

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511

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