Hunting for the Cure: The Love is Bald Scavenger Hunt

February is National Cancer Prevention Month and local non-profits Pink Ribbon Project and Love is Bald are partnering up with an unlikely local business to help raise funds for women’s mammograms.

February 11th is the First Annual Love is Bald Scavenger Hunt and it all started at Jeff Gordon Chevrolet. While it might seem out of character for a car dealership, Jeff Gordon Chevrolet and its Wilmington employees have been working behind the scenes for years, assisting local non-profits and individual community members through various efforts.

According to Mark Santilli, Marketing Manager, their outreach effort began when their team started to analyze their advertising budget.

“About three years ago, on a heavy month, we’d spend six figures on television and radio advertising. We analyzed 2 years of advertising spend and found that, regardless of the amount we spent, we weren’t seeing an increase in traffic. We also conducted a few surveys and found out that, even though we were spending a significant amount every month, people didn’t know we had a catch phrase.”

To remedy their problem, the team came up with a bold idea: instead of spending their advertising budget on actual advertising, they would turn towards organic content marketing and put the money towards community outreach efforts. Mark hired several new employees, including Leacy Vicks, who is the Event Coordinator for the Love is Bald Scavenger Hunt.

“When Mark was talking to me, he said he wanted to be able to build a program that works with some of the non-profits we already work with and find other partners in the community that really do need help. He wanted to build relationships with people rather than shouting messages at them,” says Leacy.

Since cutting the cord with traditional advertising, Jeff Gordon Chevrolet has partnered with many different non-profits, including Oasis NC, a day school for children with autism.

“While he was getting ready for work, Mark happened to catch a piece on WWAY about how the school needed a bus to get to their activities. The teachers were using their personal vehicles to get the students to outside activities. So we asked how can we help?” said Leacy.

Mark and Leacy turned to their longtime partners, the Wilmington Hammerheads, as well as their on-lot Enterprise team, for a full day of events. The players hosted the children in the Hammerhead’s indoor facility. They had a huge pizza party, and Enterprise provided transportation for the entire event.

The whole point, Leacy said, was “to get them more exposure. From there, we were able to help them build a web-based program for donations to go directly to the bus fund. Now, they have a large passenger van that’s all wrapped up. Since then, they’re growing even more so we’re planning on doing an art show this Spring to help them raise funds for their next school.”

The team at Jeff Gordon Chevrolet has sent out individual employees with gift cards to pay for people’s groceries, their gas, and their construction supplies. In the past, they’ve also partnered with Wilmington Cape Fear Home Builders and the UNCW Film Society as well as the non-profits involved in the scavenger hunt, but they said some of the events weren’t raising money like they wanted.

“With the Love is Bald Scavenger Hunt, we’re trying to think outside of the box and take it the next level,” says Leacy. “The goal of all of it is to help Love is Bald get more exposure with other local businesses. They were able to form a partnership with Pink Ribbon and now all the money raised is going directly to help pay for mammograms.”

Most major insurance companies cover 2D or digital screening mammography. 3D mammography may not be covered depending on your coverage. A 3D mammogram provides an additional view of the breast and allows these images to be manipulated.

Kim Sink, Account Executive for Radiology, NHRMC, puts the test into easy to understand terms.

“The radiologist is able to review the 3D images, one thin layer at a time, almost like turning pages in a book. Because of this ability, there’s a 41% increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers. It also reduces anxiety-provoking false positive callbacks by 40%.”

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime so screening is incredibly important, but those that are uninsured or underinsured may be skipping the 3D test that could potentially save their life. Proceeds from the scavenger hunt will help women get the testing they need without putting a strain on their family and, for the team at Jeff Gordon Chevrolet, that’s what it’s all about.

“By reallocating the money we would have spent in traditional advertising, we are able to create relationships within our community that we never thought was possible. These personal connections make Jeff Gordon a stronger member of the Wilmington community, and we take a lot of pride in that,” says Leacy.

To participate in the First Annual Love is Bald Scavenger Hunt, please visit their website to register as a participant or as a sponsor. The hunt begins at Halligan’s Pub, where each team will receive a clue that will direct them to the first destination. From there, teams will visit a variety of secret sponsor sites and participate in challenges to receive their next location clue. Teams are encouraged to dress up themselves and their cars! Awards will be given at the after party located at Halligan’s Pub and light hor d’oeuvres, beverages, and live entertainment will be provided.

Celebrate National Cancer Prevention Month and join the hunt for the cure! Additionally, if you’re aware of any local non-profits who might need some help, please contact