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Man builds special 'Pink Ribbon' guitar

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Oct 03 2012 04:37:51 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 03 2012 12:26:42 PM CDT

You've probably noticed our region has turned pink. It's all about raising awareness about breast cancer and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. -

You've probably noticed our region has turned pink. It's all about raising awareness about breast cancer and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Breast cancer survivors and their families are using this time to share their stories time and time again to raise awareness and money for the foundation.

We found one of those stories involving a handmade guitar that has made a full circle in helping with the cause.

A grandson plays a tune on a very special handmade guitar in the lobby of the Virginian for his grandmother. It's shaped like the symbol of breast cancer awareness, a pink ribbon. It was designed and built to not only raise awareness about breast cancer, but to raise money.

The inspiration for the guitar was easy for its maker. "The inspiration behind it was I had a lot of family that have breast cancer for one," designer and builder Andrew Smith said.

"I'm a 21 year and a 7 year survivor of breast cancer. So he knew how close that was to me," his grandmother Daren Boone added.

The guitar is actually made with a rare pink wood called pink ivory. It was designed and built as a project in the manufacturing, engineering and technology department at East Tennessee State University.

"I just couldn't imagine how he could do that. It's really a piece of art besides being a musical instrument," says Peggy Carter with the Ladies Golf Association of the Virginia, who sponsored the project.

It was sold at silent auction last week and one of the bidders was Andrew's grandmother. "I knew that if there was anyway that I could get it back and give it to him, I would," she said.

It was an unknown bidder in the silent auction that bought the guitar, and that bidder turned out to be his grandmother. "I had no clue, I really didn't. I was not expecting it either," Andrew says.

"He was so excited. He cried, I cried, I think everybody in the room cried," his grandmother said.

We learned that over $25,000 was raised during the auction to help women in the region with their struggles with breast cancer.

Chances are that the guitar and its maker along, with Andrew's grandmother, are not quite done it their efforts to make us all aware of breast cancer, its treatments and the continuing search for a cure.