EAST WATERFORD — In an effort to bring more awareness to breast cancer in the Oxford Hills region, Bailey Wood, a senior at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, painted her truck pink and installed a breast cancer awareness slogan decal on the back.

Wood, 17, said the strap that affixes her truck’s gas tank to the vehicle broke during the early spring and, as a result, the entire bed of the truck had to be removed.

While the truck was being worked on, she said she saw an opportunity to turn her vehicle’s disrepair into a means of spreading the word about breast cancer awareness.

Shelby DeCato, Wood’s mother, said Wood’s great-grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 80s. Wood said her stepbrother’s grandmother was a survivor of breast cancer.

“A lot of my family has had it over the years, and I wanted to do something to bring people’s attention to it,” Wood said.

While her truck was in the shop with the bed removed, she asked if she could paint her truck completely pink, and install two decals on the back: one of a pink ribbon that has become synonymous with breast cancer, and another that featured the slogan, “Big or small, we want to save them all.”

DeCato said that, at first, she discouraged her daughter from painting her vehicle a color that would draw so much attention.

“Her stepdad has a logging company, and he had talked before about painting one of his skidders pink,” DeCato said. “I didn’t think it was a good idea for her to do it, but she did, and now, I’m glad she did. It certainly draws attention though.”

DeCato said the official shade used on the truck is “Peterbilt passion pink.”

Wood said that she gets a lot of people – both students and random citizens – coming up to her and complimenting the truck.

“I’ve even had people asking if they could take a picture with the truck,” Wood said. “I’m just glad that people enjoy it and that they connect it with breast cancer.”

Wood, who has played field hockey since third grade and plays on the team at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris, said all her teammates thought painting her truck pink was a good idea.

With the prospect of graduating in June looming, Wood said she’s looking to continue raising awareness about breast cancer, particularly with people her age.

“I think there’s a good amount of breast cancer awareness out there,” she said. “I mean, four out of five cars that I see driving on the road have a pink ribbon license plate. However, I think that people our age are seeing breast cancer flare up more, so I want to raise awareness for younger kids, too.”

Wood’s senior project, which will kick off in late winter or early spring, will focus on raising awareness of breast cancer in teenagers and raising money for breast cancer research and treatment.

While the teen said the details for her senior project haven’t been finalized, her mother said she is hoping to contact the Dempsey Center to figure out “the best approach to take.”

The Dempsey Center in Lewiston provides education, support and therapies to cancer patients and their families and caregivers for free.

As for the future, Wood said she is looking to attend the University of Maine at Orono and become a veterinarian.

“I’ve always loved animals, and have always owned animals,” she said. She owns three goats, two cows, two cats and a dog, she said.

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