To promote breast cancer awareness and the importance of mammograms, Baton Rouge General kicked off its annual "Protect Your Pumpkins" event with the installation of pink pumpkin patches at three locations in the Capitol region.

The hospital system had planned to put up the patches last week, but heavy rains forced a delay until Wednesday. 

It has 5,000 or so pink pumpkins at its patch near its Bluebonnet location, and smaller displays at its Mid-City and Prairieville locations. Visitors can take a pumpkin home.

“We are excited to bring back the pumpkin patches this year, as it is such an effective way to kick off our Protect Your Pumpkins campaign, engage with the community and have important conversations about breast cancer,” hospital president and chief executive officer Edgardo Tenreiro said.

Women in the U.S. have a 1-in-8 lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer and mammograms can often detect breast cancer early. Hospital spokeswoman Katie Johnson said Tuesday that the 2019 promotion led to a 25% increase in the number of mammograms scheduled. Last year's was canceled amid the pandemic.

According to the hospital, pink “Porcelain Doll” pumpkins are part of a national campaign launched in 2012.

The patches are at the corner of Bluebonnet Boulevard and Picardy Avenue, on the Florida Boulevard side of the Mid-City campus and on the right side of the parking lot at Prairieville.