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Phoenix fire chief announces breast cancer diagnosis

Chief Kara Kalkbrenner said she has a positive outlook and will continue to lead after recovering from surgery

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Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner announced in an open letter on Wednesday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Photo/Phoenix Fire Department Facebook

By FireRescue1 Staff

PHOENIX — Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in an open letter published Wednesday.

Kalkbrenner wrote that she will have surgery to perform a double mastectomy and reconstruction operation this week and that she intends to continue leading the department after her initial recovery period.

“This diagnosis is only strengthening my resolve to eradicate the disease from being considered an eventual expectation of having this career,” Kalkbrenner said in the letter. “Let this be an opportunity to remind each of you to follow our exposure protocols, file exposure reports, get your annual physical, annual cancer screening, take care of yourself and each other!”

The chief said she does not ask for sympathy and has a “positive outlook.” She also thanked community members for respecting her and her family’s privacy.

Kalkbrenner became Phoenix’s first female fire chief in 2014. She has worked at the department since 1985.