Lost Pines Toyota

Brush with Breast Cancer Motivates Owner to Help Other Women Receive Screenings
by Dan Miller
Jan/Feb 2015
Lost Pines Toyota
The Power of Pink
Lost Pines Toyota staffers gather in front of the Big Pink Bus, the Seton Medical Center’s mobile unit that provides free mammograms. Thanks to the money raised by the dealership, the bus will make four visits in 2015.
Laurie Liriano, part-owner with her husband Carlos of Lost Pines Toyota, knows just how fortunate she is. One example: she has health insurance that, in turn, allows her to get regular mammograms. So when, a year ago, that breast cancer screening test revealed an abnormality, she received the care she needed to address it.

But Liriano realizes that’s not true for everyone in Bastrop, Texas, the Austin suburb where the couple does business. So, moved by her brush with mortality, Laurie decided she had to try to do something to fill the gap.

“That’s when I discovered that Seton Medical Center in Austin had the Big Pink Bus,” she says. “It’s a mobile unit that provides free mammograms to women in Central Texas with limited or no health insurance. It used to come to Bastrop. But due to budget cuts, it hadn’t been here in two years. We had to do something. It was a no-brainer.”

In less than six weeks, Laurie and Carlos mobilized their staff and organized a “Pinked Out Casino Night” at the dealership. Some 250 local residents showed up, purchasing $40 tickets and/or making cash donations to the cause. In return, the partygoers got to trade in their casino chips for prizes at the end of the night.

And they could indulge in all-you-can-eat helpings of gumbo. Since the Lirianos moved from their native New Orleans to open this new store nearly three years ago, General Sales Manager Jim Wilkinson has made a pot of gumbo that they serve a couple hundred patrons at noon on the first Friday of every month. For the big event, local restaurants offered competing concoctions in a friendly Gumbo Challenge.
It worked. After covering expenses, Lost Pines Toyota delivered a check to the medical center to fund Big Pink Bus visits to Bastrop each of the next four quarters. On average, the mobile unit can screen 21 women per day, providing full follow-up care and treatment if needed.
“We were absolutely floored by the response,” says Laurie. “We’ve always been very active in the community, participating in more than 30 events over the past year alone. But I’ve never been part of something that just took off like that. For the women who will benefit, this could be life changing. We’re already making plans to do this again next year. We just have to keep bringing that bus back.”
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