Stevens Point Firefighter holds up the 2018 Pink T-shirt to benefit local breast cancer patients. (Metro Wire photo)

Stevens Point firefighters don pink, sell t-shirts for breast cancer

By Brandi Makuski

Stevens Point firefighters are turning out in pink this October—and they’ve begun their annual pink t-shirt sales campaign.

Throughout the month of October, city firefighters will wear department-issued pink polos in an effort to spread breast cancer and screening support and awareness. The exception will be on Fridays when firefighters wear red as a sign of support for the United States Armed Forces.

Firefighter Jason Pettis, who organizes the department’s pink t-shirt fundraiser each year, said firefighters are typically motivated to get involved because they’ve been personally affected by the disease.

“Everyone is at risk for breast cancer,” said Pettis, who also serves as director for the SPFD Local 484 Charitable Foundation. “We are supporting breast cancer awareness and prevention by encouraging others to give so that no breast cancer patient goes without life-saving treatments or having hope for a cure.”

According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer each year. An estimated 304,010 new cases of breast cancer and 45,920 deaths will be reported in 2018. Among all women affected, 85 percent have no family history.

Firefighters themselves are often exposed to carcinogens and other chemicals while on the job, Pettis said, and are disproportionately diagnosed with breast cancer, just one of many cancers linked to the work firefighters do.

Firefighters will be selling 2018 t-shirts from Station 1, located at 1701 Franklin St., through the end of October.

Youth and adult sizes cost $10 each, while 2XL and 3XL sizes will cost $12 and $14, respectively.  Proceeds will benefit the Saint Michael’s Foundation Breast Care Center.

The Stevens Point Firefighters Local 484 Charitable Foundation, Inc. was established as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in 2015. So far, the group has donated over $93,000 to the local community.