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TVF&R thinks pink for breast cancer awareness month

Area firefighters break out the pink

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Firefighters will wear pink through the end of October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters are stepping up in the battle against breast cancer.

To raise money and awareness for local cancer screenings, education and support services, members of Tualatin Valley Firefighters Union Local 1660 and TVF&R are teaming up during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to participate in the Firefighters in Pink campaign.

During the campaign, which opened Oct. 16 and continues through Oct. 31, TVF&R crews will wear pink T-shirts instead of their blue uniform shirts to show support for families who have been impacted by breast cancer.

“Firefighters are motivated to get involved for many reasons, and often, it’s because they have been personally affected by the disease,” said TVF&R Lt. Rocky Hanes, president of Local 1660.

Firefighters purchased their T-shirts through the union’s online store for $15 each. All proceeds will be split between the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Beaverton (to help pay for cancer screenings) and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (which provides assistance to all fire service members and their families following a cancer diagnosis).

“This cause is something we are passionate about,” said Chris Tompkins, Local 1660 secretary and an apparatus operator and paramedic with TVF&R. “The Firefighters in Pink campaign gives us a way to do what we can to raise awareness and money to fight a disease that has devastated so many families in our community.”

By selecting the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Beaverton as a beneficiary, firefighters hope to help ensure that breast cancer screenings are available to women facing economic, social and cultural barriers that can impede their health, wellness and access to high-quality care.

In 2014, the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center served more than 13,000 patients and an additional 400 students through a health clinic based at Beaverton High School, said Olivia MacKenzie, public relations officer for the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation.

Through a partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center provides patients with support to increase breast health awareness, increase screenings and decrease late-stage breast cancer diagnoses.

“It means so much to us to be selected as a beneficiary,” MacKenzie said. “The funding that comes through from organizations and agencies to support our work at the center shows our patients that people in our community care about them. It’s a collective effort. It’s our whole village that is stepping up to support them.”

The public is invited to join the firefighters’ effort to reduce breast cancer deaths in the community. Those who would like to “go pink” with firefighters may purchase a pink T-shirt online at iaff1660.org and pick it up at Local 1660’s union office, 16400 S.W. Bryant Road in Lake Oswego Mondays through Thursdays between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Charitable donations to support this year’s beneficiaries can also be made online.

“We are supporting breast cancer awareness and prevention by encouraging others to give so that no breast cancer patient goes without lifesaving treatments or having hope for a cure,” Hanes says.