Watch out – you may get “flocked”

| 22 Mar 2012 | 10:08

By Ginny Raue WEST MILFORD — So you wake up in the morning, make your way to the kitchen and put on the coffee. While waiting for your morning brew you look out the front window to check the weather. What’s that? A flock of purple flamingos have taken up residence on your lawn.

First off, you know there is no such thing as a bright purple flamingo, and secondly, they’re not moving. So what’s going on?

It’s simple, really. Overnight you were “flocked,” compliments of the Courageous LadyBugs, one of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life teams, hoping to raise funds for cancer research. They strike after dark, plant the birds, and then quietly leave. Don’t worry though, they’ll be back tonight to move the flamingos to their new location.

If you happen to catch them in the act you’ll find that rather than a commando team done up in camo, the culprits are Vickie Evans and her two sons, Tyler, 6, and Mathew, 4. Not scary at all.

Evans became involved with the Relay for personal reasons. After her mother died of lung cancer 12 years ago she decided her future would be dedicated to making a difference. She was in nursing school at the time and she went on to specialize in oncology, currently working at Morristown Medical Center in the adult oncology unit. “I felt that I could see both sides; the family member side and the nurse side, being that I was my mom’s caregiver,” she said.

She moved to West Milford five years ago and through her neighbor she became involved with the annual event, this year as a co-chairperson along with Nicole Rivera. The committees are already hard at work, and the “flocking” idea for the LadyBugs team is already paying off.

Here’s how it works: A placard attached to the birds explains that “a friend of yours paid us to have these purple darlings in your yard.” If you would like to continue with the “funraiser” all you have to do is make a $15 donation and provide a name and address of the next “flockee.” For an additional $5 you can purchase “Purple Flamingo Insurance” protecting you from an avian re-invasion. With or without a donation, the birds will be removed in the evening.

The flamingos will be making their way around town from now until the Relay for Life of the Highlands takes place, June 9 and 10, at the West Milford High School track.

“At Relay you can find healing, comfort and support from so many people that are either battling cancer or have loved ones who have been affected," said Evans. "You have a chance to meet people in the community that are equally as passionate about finding a cure and ending cancer in our lifetime. We are working to create a world with more birthdays.”

So if you get “flocked” just smile, consider a donation, then think of a friend you’d like to see waking up to a lawn full of purple flamingos, the sight of which works almost as well as that first jolt of caffeine.