Imagine arriving home after work, school, or after running some errands to a front yard full of pink flamingos. For many in Houma, Louisiana it is not uncommon to see flamingos 'flocking' their neighborhoods and businesses.
Confused? Many are until they find out the story behind the pretty pink birds, smiles are not far behind.
Wayne Bunch and his family decided to start a team for the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure, in honor of his mother, Gina.
"My Mom died of breast cancer in 2009 and we participate in all of the Susan G. Komen races here in Lafeyette and Houma. We always wanted to do the 3-day since she died. We just decided this year, why wait? Let's just do it now."
As part of the walk, the Bunch family team was required to raise $6,900 in time for October 1. That goal might have seemed unattainable when they first started, but once they started flocking, their unusual idea took off beyond anything they could have imagined.
Flocking is a simple idea. People pay Wayne $25 to put flamingos in a friend's (or foe's) yard when they are not home. The 'victim' comes home to a yard covered in flamingos and then contacts Wayne, paying him a $25 'removal fee.'
Along with help from his dad, Billy, it takes Wayne less than five minutes to flock a yard. The two of them deck out each lawn with 25 bright pink flamingos, leave an explanatory note about their team and the Susan G. Komen foundation, and make a clean getaway.
The community has thrown their full weight behind the team. Flocking has proved to be an immensely popular way to prank friends and support a good cause and Wayne, a.k.a. 'the flamingo guy,' has become a kind of local celebrity. Local car and motorcycle dealers have been particularly supportive, flocking each other in support of 'Gina's Bunch.'
The Bunch family has raised $7,059 to date, exceeding their original goal. They hope to raise $10k by October.
While flocking is a lot of fun, it is the memory of Gina and the family's personal experiences that keeps the team motivated.
"It's important to raise awareness of the fact that, you know, you want everybody to eventually one day not have to hear from a doctor 'I'm sorry ma'am, you have breast cancer and there's nothing we can do for you.' We want them to be able to one day hear, 'I'm sorry, you have breast cancer, but everything is going to be okay.'"
To find out more about Flocking for Gina, please visit their Facebook page.