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If you'd like to join our local firefighters in supporting the Gift-A-Mammogram program, please visit us here to make your gift online.

A Tougher Shade of Pink

Local firefighters don pink shirts to raise awareness for breast cancer

Red trucks, huge ladders, oxygen tanks—these are the typical accessories of a firefighter. But a pink T-shirt? If you've noticed any firefighters decked out in pink lately, it's all for a good cause.

This summer, the brave first responders from the Arlington Heights Fire Department and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3105 came up with a plan to support Northwest Community Hospital's Gift-A-Mammogram fund.

The fund provides no-cost mammograms and follow-up procedures for women who need access to this key diagnostic tool, but simply lack the resources to pay for it. The program is administered by NCH's Breast Center and funded entirely by charitable giving.

"We provide 75 to 100 women each year with screening mammograms and diagnostic work-ups," says the NCH Breast Center Program Manager Christine Masonick. "I can hear the relief in their voices when I am able to say, 'yes, we can help.'"

The firefighters' fundraising initiative was launched on August 12 at "The Mane Event," a block party held in downtown Arlington Heights that kicked off the Arlington Million horse race. Fireman Ted Peterson led the charge as he and his colleagues collected donations and sold pink T-shirts.

Staff members from the Breast Center were on hand to provide breast cancer awareness information to those who stopped by. "We not only had fun but also felt good about supporting this cause on behalf of those in need. It is a great way to pay it forward," Ted says.

In October, which was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the firefighters joined NCH staff in raising more money for Gift-A-Mammogram by selling their pink T-shirts at NCH in the Oasis, the hospital cafeteria. And at this year's annual Arlington Heights Fire Department Open House event October 15, families from the community came to tour the fire department and learn about fire prevention. During the event, the firefighters continued to sell the pink breast cancer awareness T-shirts as well as food donated by Jewel's food suppliers. All proceeds from the snacks and T-shirt sales went to Gift-A-Mammogram.

Altogether, they raised more than $4,200 to help ensure early detection and effective treatment of breast cancer.

"These guys are husbands, sons and fathers who are stepping up to support the women in their lives and in all of our lives, and we at NCH are very appreciative," Christine says.

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Last Updated 04/10/2009