Adam Bunch was lying in bed one morning around the first of February when the idea suddenly hit him. His wife, Debra, had been diagnosed with breast cancer on Dec. 27, 2009. Two days later, she lost her job. Money was tight, and Adam, a part-time server at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, knew he wouldn't be able to support the family on his current salary.
Because he would be busy taking care of his spouse, he decided to take time off from school, where he had returned to pursue a degree in landscape contracting and design.
The plan he formulated that morning was to start his landscaping business ahead of schedule to ease the hurt of Debra's lost income.
"I've felt a calling all my life to get this started," Adam said. "I was just thinking about it and thinking about it and felt that God was telling me to get up and do something."
That morning, he immediately set to work designing business cards and lawn signs. It was Debra who came up with the name for the project: Pink Ribbon Lawn Care.
The idea for the new business was to supplement the family's income, but to also give some of the profits to charity. Ten percent of the money from each job goes to help families affected by breast cancer.
"Our situation is hard, but it could be a lot worse. We just want to give back to the cause in some way," Adam said. "There are a lot of organizations donating to research, so we decided to give directly to people with medical bills. Hopefully, we can do it all: Give to others, but be able to have enough money to help Debra."
As soon as they heard the news of Debra's diagnosis, Adam's parents moved from their winter residence in south Texas to help out. Adam and Debra temporarily left their house in northwest Oklahoma City to live at his parents' home in Jones, to be closer to the hospital and to BJ's.
Prescott Krysler, a recent lymphoma survivor and general manager at the north Oklahoma City BJ's where Adam works, empathized with his employee's situation and nominated him for BJ's "Give a Slice" program.
"I nominated Adam and Debra because of my sincere depth of empathy surrounding their journey through life," Krysler said. "As a very recent cancer survivor, I know firsthand the path they're currently embarking on." "Give a Slice" was created to help employees and their immediate families in times of need. The corporation emphasizes the fact that the "BJ's family will be there" whenever a tragic situation may strike.
"The financial support from BJ's has been tremendous," Debra said. "After we received the money, Adam immediately went to the bank and opened up a trust fund for me."
All the money from "Give a Slice" immediately went to covering December and January medical bills, as did donations from the couple's families.
"Everything we had in the trust fund is gone. Now it's all riding on the lawn care company," Adam said. "We're just jumping into this by blind faith and hoping the business will come."
Hanging on a wall in his parents' garage is a large map of the metro area. Blocked off are the target areas of business: Bethany, Warr Acres, The Village, Nichols Hills and Edmond.
Different colored pushpins mark the sites of lawn advertising signs and commercial and residential clients.
So far, the map is largely devoid of marks. The only call Pink Ribbon Lawn Care has received was an inquiry to install a sprinkler system " a service the company doesn't provide.
The whole operation is on standby until things pick up. Debra will keep track of the appointments, money and books, while Adam will head the manual component. Many part-time servers at BJ's have volunteered their labor once it's needed.
"Everything's ready to go: We've got the equipment, the trailers, all the advertising supplies," Adam said. "I have no idea how it's going to work out. I might be overwhelmed by all the jobs, or I might be sitting here, wondering why nobody's calling. We'll just have to wait and see."
For more information, visit www.pinkribbonlawncare.com or call 343-9470. "Emily Hopkins
photo Debra and Adam Bunch sit on a lawn tractor. photo/Marianne Pickens