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Claxton-Hepburn staff creates viral video

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OGDENSBURG — The beat is simple. The premise is simple. The message is simple.

What's not so simple? Getting members of 27 hospital departments, as well as SUNY Canton nursing students and the Ogdensburg Rescue Squad — more than 200 people altogether — decked out in pink examination gloves to film a choreographed song and dance during a workday. But after nine hours in early November, the staff at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center did just that, and they have the roughly four-minute YouTube video, with hopes of it going viral, to prove it.

"It wasn't just people busting a move," said Laura C. Shea, the hospital's spokeswoman and the person who brought the Pink Glove Dance to Ogdensburg. "They had choreography involved. There was a great buzz that it created in the hospital the few days leading up to it; people asking each other, 'Are you doing the Pink Glove Dance?'"

All for that one simple message: Breast cancer survivors, you are not alone.

The craze began in 2009, when the medical supply company Medline Industries, which makes the pink gloves, approached a hospital in Oregon with the idea of making a viral video while raising breast cancer awareness. The video was released that November. More than 12.5 million people have watched it on YouTube, and TV networks such as CNN, Fox News and ABC News and more than 100 local news channels have featured it, said John Marks, a marketing official at Medline.

In 2010, organizers are fanning out. Hundreds of organizations, many of them hospitals, are getting in on the fun.

Mrs. Shea said that when she heard about the idea, she was immediately intrigued. Soon afterward, she decided to bring the dance to Claxton-Hepburn.

"It's not only for breast cancer awareness; it's a morale booster," she said.

Claxton-Hepburn's video goes through much of the hospital, from the emergency department onramp to the attendant who directs traffic, from X-ray machines to EKG machines to the front reception desks.

Some steps are simple: Three or four people dressed in smocks wave their pink-gloved hands over their heads. Others are more intricate.

The participants dance to the lyrics "Everybody wants to be a part of something, but without each other we're a whole lot of nothing" as a woman in a lab coat twirls a stethoscope. The camera pans to about a dozen people in smocks, slapping their pink gloves to their hips in a Macarena move. "So come with me, I've got a promise to keep: You won't dance alone."

The success came as a surprise to David M. Lebovic, an ad man who was approached by Medline and helped film the original video.

"When Medline originally came to me and said, 'We want to put together a video of people dancing with pink gloves,' they said they wanted to get a million hits," he said. "Everyone wants their viral video to do that. I thought if we got to 100,000, that would be more than incredible."

Spurred by the original video's success, the Pink Glove Dance has branched out to hospitals and organizations around the country. Instead of using an established pop song, Mr. Lebovic got together a few friends and wrote an original tune, "You Won't Dance Alone." They called their band Best Day Ever.

"What amazes me is the connection people have to the movement overall," Mr. Lebovic said. "It took on its own life. I underestimated how much survivors and family members want to be connected with each other."

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