Van Wilgen’s Cares


Join us again to #RUNTHEFARM VW5K will be help on October 6th 2019, Save the date!

2018 VW5K and Flamingo Total!




Look what we did together! 2018 Flamingo Fund total is $17,000.00 WOW!! On behalf of Van Wilgen’s Flamingo Fund we want to thank you for making a positive difference. Your support encourages our continued commitment to finding a cure. A warm Thank you from the bottom of our hearts ~


2017 Flamingo Total!

$15,546.00 in Flamingos, Mini Flamingos, Pink Plants, and donations! All for Smilow Cancer Hospital! Together we made this happen!

We are very proud of our community that we can come together and garden for the cure. Because of the Flamingos and Pink Weeks, we have been able to donate a total of $54,459.00!

We have some really fun things planned for 2018, stay tuned!




Van Wilgen’s has two charities that are near and dear to our hearts.  Bill Van Wilgen is a male breast cancer survivor as well as a Leukemia survivor.  Van Wilgen’s has facilitated many fundraising events where we have been able to contribute or donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as the Smilow Cancer Hospital.  We understand that your cause is as important to you as these two causes are important to us.  If you would like to submit a cause for Van Wilgen’s to donate to, ask for our donation request form at our main store in North Branford.

2016 Flamingo Total!

Last Wednesday I had the honor of presenting a check to Smilow Cancer Hospital for all the donations received from this year’s flamingo adoption. It was so great to hand this check to Kevin Walsh from Yale New Haven Hospital along with my family members in a beautiful setting in the greenhouse.


IMG_2965Our total raised for Smilow was $23,513.00! Wow, isn’t it amazing what we can do when we work together!  To cap off a great day I went to a Branford Rotary Club after-hours party which I’m in charge of and got a bit of a surprise.  My friends in the Rotary Club did a mini fundraiser in my honor to thank me for putting these gatherings together. Complete with a large flamingo hat they made me wear, the group donated just over $800 in my honor to Smilow. Now that’s a great day!


This year I asked Smilow to create a new category for Van Wilgen fundraising dedicated to male breast cancer,  which was the first of my two cancers.  I feel strongly that more research and awareness needs to be raised about male breast cancer which quite often goes undiagnosed and metastasizes into some other form of cancer and is quite often caught too late.  Beginning this year the funds that we donate to Smilow will now go to Male Breast Cancer Van Wilgen’s Fund.
After two years and many flamingos later I personally want to thank all of you who have supported the cancer cause. We all need to be happy every time we see a pink flamingo in the landscape.  I hope they make you smile as much as I do whenever I see them.



I am still overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our Pink Weeks Flamingos.  It seems as though everywhere you turn, there’s a flamingo on someone’s lawn! What a huge success this was and I am so proud to say that as of today, together we have raised $15,400.00 for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven! Wow, isn’t it amazing what we can do when we work together!

Here are a few video links to my story and some important tips for men.

CT Style, Bill Van Wilgen, and Dr. Beth Collins talk about male breast cancer

WTNH Plastic Flamingos flying out of North Branford store for charity

Every day I would run into people in our store and listen to their amazing stories.  I heard great survival stories and I even ran into a husband and wife that was on their ride home from Smilow right after the gentleman received treatment and they had to stop and buy some flamingos in support.   The daycare center that my granddaughter attends purchased flamingos and sent the sweetest card with little kid footprints in they made into flamingos! So many of you took the time to send this story to a friend and made this silly idea the huge success that it was, and I am so grateful.  I hope you all had as much fun with flamingos as we did!


June  2016

I had the great honor of participating in the 20th Annual Looking Forward Fashion Show last night. It was a fun night for not only me but my friends and family as well. The show brings together cancer survivors, patients, and patient advocates for a night of inspiration. Proceeds from the fashion show go to support important Complementary Services Programs for patients undergoing treatment at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and its affiliated care centers.





Bill VW signature

Bill with Flamingos