By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mary Leisses of Lakeville lost her years-long battle to breast cancer in June 2019.

Before she died, she started the cause “Pink and Black: We Fight Back,” which raises money for Minnesota breast cancer patients and their families. Through this cause, she encouraged people to buy lawn ornament flamingos for $10 and then at the end of October, all the purchased flamingos would go in the yard and all the donors would have a “Flock the Yard” flamingo party. Mary had two flamingo parties before she died, raising over $30,000.

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She was first diagnosed in Sept. 2010, a year before the cause took off. Her cancer returned in 2017, arriving with the determination to keep the flamingo flocks thriving.

Her close friends, Lois Benson and Lori Bunkholt, are now continuing on a legacy of her cause. This October, they want to have their largest “Flock the Yard” party with over 700 flamingos.

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The lawn flamingos are available to adopt for $10 Oct. 17 to Nov. 17. The third annual “Flock the Yard” party will be on Oct. 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the front lawn of Hope Chest consignment store in Orono.

Hope Chest sells clothes and furniture and puts the money directly into the hands of Minnesota breast cancer patients undergoing active treatment.

“We pay their mortgage, rent, transportation costs, childcare, and utilities,” said Jamie Flaws with Hope Chest.

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You can purchase/adopt a flamingo directly at Hope Chest or online here.

Marielle Mohs