Workers at The Pink Cow Ice Cream shop in Alden concoct a special sundae about once a month, with some of the proceeds from each sale steered to a local charity or cause.
The opportunity to sometimes host the Windsong Mobile Mammography Unit presented another way co-owners Hanna and Laura Ross could give back to a community that supports their nine-year-old business — though in this case it’s even more personal.
Laura Ross is a three-year breast cancer survivor.
“Having breast cancer is a very overwhelming experience for the entire family,” said her daughter, Hanna. “Early detection is one of the most important things in breast cancer and Windsong’s mobile unit provides that to women. If you’ve met the staff, they are an absolute blast to be around.”
Windsong, a Williamsville-based radiology group, rolled out the mobile screening unit early last year, after it identified dozens of potential sites where screening rates are lower than in many suburban communities. A state grant supports the effort. Parts of Buffalo and far-flung communities in the region get most of the love.
The unit will park at the ice cream shop at 13119 Broadway from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 30 for a “Turn up the Pink” event. Everyone who receives a mammogram will receive a voucher for a free Pink Cow sundae. Windsong encourages those interested to call 929-9494 to make an appointment, though walk-ins will be welcome if time and space allows.
Pink Cow first invited the mobile unit last year to participate as part of a monthlong breast cancer-related fundraiser spearheaded by a local teen whose mother died from the disease when the girl was 3 years old.
Pink Cow shares a parking lot with Save A Lot, Tractor Supply and the Post Office, which has made it convenient to get a mammogram while someone is out and about town, Hanna Ross said.
“Either people are willing to leave Alden all the time, or they're not willing to leave it all,” she said. Those in the latter group tend to be older — and to put off mammograms in part for transportation reasons.
“I had a woman last year who had had major knee surgery,” Ross said. “She couldn’t drive but she could walk to The Pink Cow. She got her mammogram there because it was right there.
“I met another woman last year in February at Winterfest. She pulled me aside and told me that she kept putting her mammogram off because she was just dreading it. They're uncomfortable. They hurt a little bit. ... She'd been putting it off, putting it off and putting it off. She stopped and had her mammogram done on the mobile unit, and they actually found something. They were able to take care of it very quickly. Thankfully, she did because she has a little girl. Had she waited another year, who knows what could have could have come of her experience?”
How hard is it to own an ice cream business when it comes to eating right and maintaining a healthy weight?
Ross, who was 19 when she and her mother opened the Pink Cow, has loved ice cream since childhood.
“It's rare that I get a full ice cream,” she said. “Because you're around it all the time, I can take a taste of anything I want. I don't have to order the big thing.”
Eating large quantities also isn’t an option for her, she said, because she’s slightly lactose intolerant. This helps explain why The Pink Cow serves a non-dairy (vegan) line of frozen goodies, as well as several ice cream varieties that include Perry’s, made in her native nearby Akron.
“I've always been in love with ice cream,” she said. “I know a lot of people see it as a treat. I like the background of how it's made and like how pretty you can make a treat with it. It’s just amazing.”