Nail polish can't cure cancer, but when applied correctly, it can sure help a cancer patient's outlook on life.
When Valerie Brosdal was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in August 2013, her husband, Ralph Kapostins, sought to lift her spirits by taking her for a pedicure. Valerie painted her toes purple, her favorite color, so Ralph figured he'd paint his nails purple, too, hoping to make her smile.
It worked, reports NBC Bay Area, so Ralph, inspired by his wife's smile, posted a photo of their purple toenails on Facebook. He asked others to share photos of their own purple-painted toenails in support of Valerie, and the idea took off.
It's #purpletoes Wednesday! Join our campaign and send us your purple toes . email@example.com pic.twitter.com/qCy6qEJ0lH
— LungCancerFoundation (@TheALCF) June 4, 2014
#PurpleToes Campaign: Using social media to support #LungCancerAwarenessMonth http://t.co/A53Eua2Qri pic.twitter.com/bGajmzQYvk
— Melissa D. Mitchell (@Melissa_Dance) November 15, 2013
So far, Ralph told NBC, about 400 people -- "good friends, complete strangers, women, men, kids, entire families and pets, including dogs, cats and even a couple of horses" -- have shared photos.
No joke about the horses:
Support #LungCancerAwarenessMonth. Join the #PurpleToes Campaign: http://t.co/ow4FPoP4AV … >takes but a minute pic.twitter.com/eglQJU6dXX
— Natascha Thomson (@NaThomson) November 19, 2013
The project has been aided in part by a friend, Susan Woolf, who started a "Purple Toes Campaign" through the Lung Cancer Foundation, which allows anyone to submit a photo of his or her purple-painted toes for a living mural.
Valerie seems pretty thrilled.
"I've got a huge grin on my face," she wrote on Facebook in response to someone who had submitted photos. "Thank you!"