I have something I need to get off my chest. It is literally the Giant Pink Shirt in the fire service.

I need to start off by saying I am a very active year round Proud member of the Georgia Chapter of Pink Heals, I am also a cancer survivor.

That said there was an article from a local media outlet that was all about our local IAFF selling Pink shirts all month and how 50% of the profits were going to research. Is it just me or does it seem like there is a very large Pink bandwagon in the fire service lately? If your department wants to benifit a charity Great, (and yes I am aware that Susan G Komen was started by her sister whose career not surprisingly started in Marketing, and is the most marketing heavy organisation, but has done a lot for the cause.)

Here is where my big issue comes in because with Pink Heals we dirve pink vehicles people assume we are only for breast cancer. Guess what we hate ALL cancer. As Dave Graybill says once a person signs one of our vehicles it goes in service to her or him. If your department went pink this month great, but what about the other 11 months of the year and all the other types of cancer out there. Maybe we can use this as a gateway month for some depts out there, you went pink cool, now talk to your leadership about how you can keep this positive thing going ALL YEAR long. Be Proactive, get out in your communities and find ways to help support and LOVE those in the middle of this war!!

 

I am not saying you have to start a Pink Heals Chapter in your area, although I would encourage you to. But it doesnt even have to be something that formal. Maybe your department can find a way to have a weekend a month where you bring flowers to a cancer patient, or set up a way for kids in the fight to maybe come to the station for a tour. Or send out a few guys on shift if you hear of a poker run or other fundraiser for a person in your area.

 There are a thousand ways for Fire Service to be on the front lines, not in the battle on breast cancer but the WAR ON CANCER.

 

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Bravo and God Bless!  Might be fun to join a poker run in a fireapparatus, sure would turn some heads!  :)

Olivia, I'm having a bit of a problem with your problem.  You make the following statement:

"Here is where my big issue comes in because with Pink Heals we dirve pink vehicles people assume we are only for breast cancer. Guess what we hate ALL cancer."

Yet, directly from the Pink Heals website is this:

"Pink Heals is dedicated to helping young women regain their strength and beauty with fun, confidence building programming and events. Ladies, put on your favorite heels… it’s time to reclaim your mojo!" 

It appears to me that Pink Heals is specifically geared toward women diagnosed and recovering from, breast cancer.  I don't know what the guidelines ARE for starting a chapter of Pink Heals, but I have to assume that it has to be inline with the goals and mission statement of Pink Heals.

"I need to start off by saying I am a very active year round Proud member of the Georgia Chapter of Pink Heals..."

"Is it just me or does it seem like there is a very large Pink bandwagon in the fire service lately?"

If you are a member of Pink Heals, why then do you seem to have a problem with others in the fire service 'jumping on the band (fire) wagon?

I can understand a fire service movement that helps FIREFIGHTERS who are diagnosed and/or recovering from cancer, it is one of many occupational hazards.  But I disagree with using municipal (or any 'fire department') property to promote a SPECIFIC charity.  And while you can tell yourself (and others) that Pink Heals is for ALL cancer victims and survivors, that is NOT what Pink Heals identifies itself as.

Breast cancer is the number 2 killer of women, and kills ~8000 more women per year than prostate cancer kills men.  Moreover, the discovery rate (diagnosis) of breast cancer has remained fairly constant over the last 20 years, mostly because women have been encouraged to have checkups.  Conversely the rate of discovery (diagnosis) of prostate cancer is on the rise, mostly because men are now less 'embarrassed' to be checked and for (apparently now discredited) PSA screenings.

On a personal note, cancer took my sister-in-law, father and one of my kidneys.  So I'm not altogether out-of-touch nor am I a heartless  ass.  I just get really annoyed when I see people jump so heartily on one particular band wagon while ignoring other, equally important and valid causes.  And using fire departments to promote such charities plays off of the image that MOST people have of firefighters.  Wonder how that person whose family member died of a cancer OTHER than breast cancer feels when he or she sees their fire department ONLY concerned with breast cancer.  I bet they fell a bit put out and marginalized that THEIR cancer isn't important (enough) to their fire department.  You know...like if their child died from leukemia, where's the fire department support for them?

You could paint your engine brown for colon cancer.

Yeah Wade, thats really some hysterical stuff there.  Having watched my best friend die of colorectal cancer I find your comment in incredibly poor taste.

 

Cancer has been a real BITCH in my family's life and I don't have much of a sense of humor about it.  I have lost my maternal Grandmother, Mother, Father, ex-Father in law, and ex-Brother in law all to cancer.  My wife is now one year clean of cancer from breast cancer.

 

To be brutally frank, you should remove your post.

Don, with all due respect my own risk of colon cancer goes up dramatically every year. I get yearly colonoscopies to stay on top of it. Sometimes humor is a way of dealing with these things. I feel for you and your family and I have lost family to cancer as well. My comment may have been a bit blunt, but the fact reamains that it is socially acceptable to paint an engine pink for breast cancer, but the same would not be for a brown engine for colon cancer.

I will be brutally honest. I feel for all of the women who have or have had breast cancer( and I am friends with several) however I find it very disheartening that it seems to be the only cancer that gets any publicity. I think that engines of a all variety for specific cancers would be fantastic but I don't see this happening anytime soon. As someone who is likely to battle colon cancer in the future I find it frustrating that breast cancer seems to be the only one society cares about.

 

My apologies if my first post offended you, hopefully you now understand the point of view that it was written in.

I do understand what you are saying.  I got into a heated argument with a friend of mine whose wife has Type 1 Diabetes and posted on facebook about it.  They posted during Diabetes Awareness Month about diabetes being the unknown disease because it isn't glamorous or about boobs.  That pissed me off royally.  Breast cancer isn't glamorous or about boobs, it is about staying alive, surviving the cancer to be around to see your kids grow up, to be there with your husband, to be able to fulfill your dreams.  Geezus, for my wife and I saving her boobs wasn't even in the picture, SAVING HER was.

 If you seriously believe colon cancer isn't getting the publicity it deserves start an organization to promote a cure through fundraising efforts.  My bet is you would get plenty of support.  Cancer scares the hell out of people because for no apparent reason sometimes it picks people with no family history, and no serious risk factors.

 

Good luck with your medical issues.  I hope cancer leaves you alone.

Jack, while Pink Heals is woman centered on a national level, our chapter is all inclusive, for lack of a better term. I agree 100% about the use of a city/county vehicle which is why our vehicles are all out of service, and donated to the chapter. It can very easily become political and bogged down.

 

It is not so much all the departments that are doing some form of pink shirt, I guess it is frustrating to me that we as a public service can do so much seemingly for one cause and one month, then walk away from it for the rest of the year. If only 1/4 of the departments across the country were to devote even 2 days a month for the other 11 months in a year towards some type of cancer awareness, support, or event imagine what we could do.

 

I did not have breast cancer, one of my favorite guys I have watched go from probie to Lt has cancer but not in his breast, the kids I spend time with rarely have breast cancer, there is a whole world of cancer causes, and oppertunities out there if only the firefighters got involved more.

 

Hell Im not sure that I am getting my point out here mainly because it is all jumbled in my head right now. I will take a few hours and get my thoughts in order then try again to make my point in a clear and straightforward manner.

Look Olivia, my local does multiple fundraisers all year.  MD, for one and we run a fisherie and a golf outing to raise money for local charities.  The simple fact is fund raising is NOT the primary job of firefighters, no matter how good the cause.  Asking firefighters to take on fundraising 2 days a month for cancer research is a bit much.  What is to stop EVERY charity from asking the FD to spend 2 days a month fundraising for them?  I think if this gets pushed too hard what you will see is an end to fund raising because of the demand for fire fighters time.

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