Pink Cast, Heart of Gold

June 5, 2014

Rick Barnes "sold" space on his pink cast

to raise money for cancer patients. He's pictured

here with Dr. Mekki Saba, orthopedic surgeon

The saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.” As it turns out, doing a good deed earlier this spring earned Rick Barnes a broken ankle and eight weeks in a cast. And although it was a huge inconvenience for this active guy, he turned the experience into yet another opportunity to help others.

It all started, Rick said, when he stepped in a hole while helping to build a fence for an Easter egg hunt for families of the local 1011th Army Reserve Unit, whose members are currently deployed in Afghanistan. A former U.S. Navy Seabee himself and 20-year co-worker in the maintenance department at Mercy Hospital Independence, Rick didn’t hesitate to volunteer his time and muscle to a worthy cause close to his heart. And even the injury didn’t slow him down too much.

“At first I didn’t think (my ankle) was broken,” Rick recalled, so he went about his business for a few days before he decided it might be a more serious issue. “About three days later, I decided to come in and see the doctor.”

Rick saw Mercy orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mekki Saba and learned that there was indeed a fracture to his left ankle, and while the injury was to a non-weight-bearing bone, casting would be necessary.

“It was like being in jail,” Rick said of living with a cast. His mobility was limited, and he wasn’t able to drive his clutch-operated truck.

Four weeks later, another visit to Dr. Saba proved the fracture was only about halfway healed, Rick said, and a new cast was necessary. Not what he wanted to hear, but this time, Rick had an idea to make the best of the next few weeks.

“I decided, hey, maybe I could raise some money with this and help some people,” he said.

So, he requested a cast in the color pink for cancer awareness. His plan was to “sell” opportunities for signing his cast in exchange for cash donations to the local Relay for Life team supporting the American Cancer Society. So pink cast in place and a Sharpie marker and money envelope in his pocket, Rick turned his bad luck into a work of charity.

The notion caught on, and with dozens of signatures and about $200 raised, this week, the cast came off!

“Ahhhh!!!” Rick said. “What a relief!”

While he was happy to finally be rid of the cast, Rick was pleased with the success of his entrepreneurial idea. There’s even talk of saving the cast for more signatures, more donations and possibly raffling it off at the next local Relay for Life event.

Although, Rick said, he’s not sure who would want it since “it might reek a little after so many weeks!”