Mass. firefighters wear pink for breast cancer awareness
This is the first year the firefighters are wearing pink shirts to spread awareness
LONDONDERRY, Mass. — Local firefighters and department support staff members are wearing pink this month in support of breast cancer awareness.
This is the first year Londonderry firefighters are wearing pink shirts, according to Lt. Jeremy Mague.
"I'm sure you'll find this to be a trend next year as well," he said.
Given the exposure of firefighters in the community, firefighters in Pelham and Londonderry said, wearing pink shirts is an effective way to spread awareness.
"We just want to make sure we support the awareness so people can do what they need to do to prevent breast cancer the best way they can," Mague said.
All 46 employees of the fire department are wearing pink this month, Mague said.
Londonderry firefighters know the struggle of breast cancer all too well. Firefighter Patricia Hamann was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. She took part in a clinical trial to reduce the occurrence of the cancer.
Then in 2012, Hamann was diagnosed a second time and had surgery, but the cancer resurfaced in 2013, according to Londonderry firefighters.
She is still on light duty, Mague said, and performs educational work with Londonderry schools.
Firefighters have organized a fundraiser for Hamann. Black shirts with a pink ribbon and her helmet number, 55, can be purchased for $20 each.
Other departments, such as Derry and Salem have bought shirts, according to Londonderry Lt. Don Waldron.
All proceeds will help pay Hamann's medical expenses, Mague said.
To buy a shirt, visit https://squareup.com/market/nutfieldfire.
The pink shirt movement is going on in different fire departments throughout the country and Canada, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Pelham firefighters have been participating for about five years, according to Firefighter Tory Babb.
He said the movement started when a firefighter from Portsmouth, Sarah Fox, died of breast cancer in 2011.
"It's been going strong ever since," he said.
This is the first year the pink shirts are being worn throughout the entire month of October in Pelham, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"We felt that it was a little bit better to try to get some awareness throughout the month," Babb said.
The department has 17 full-time staff members, Babb said, and the 10 active on-call firefighters are encouraged to wear the pink shirts if they can.
"We recommend if (on-call firefighters) have the chance and opportunity to put it on, they wear it to show support," he said.
There is no fundraiser in association with Pelham's awareness campaign, Firefighter Robert Horne said.
But there is a unified effort behind the awareness campaign.
"Everyone's on board," Horne said.
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