In 2008, one of our brother fire fighters was told that his wife’s cancer had metastasized. This young mother had been in remission for two years after initially being diagnosed while pregnant with their first child. The Tyler Professional Fire fighters Association began discussing what could be done to help this young family. We then met with our administration and requested being allowed to wear pink uniform shirts on-duty for three days, and to sell them to the public to raise funds for this family.
The following year Tyler Fire Fighters decided to continue our efforts to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer by wearing and selling pink shirts. Each October we host a cancer awareness event in Downtown Tyler called “Turn Tyler Pink”, partnering with many local cancer organizations, local schools and businesses to show women that we care enough to wear pink. We then donate the funds raised to several local cancer organizations including: Susan G. Komen For The Cure/Tyler, Smith County American Cancer Society, and the newly formed Tyler fire Fighters C.A.R.E. (Cancer Awareness & Relief Effort) fund. The CARE fund has been established to help any of our fire fighters or their defendants diagnosed with cancer. Each year our CARE committee designs new shirts and a cap to wear and sell. We ask everyone to join Tyler fire fighters by donning pink to show everyone that Tyler “Cares Enough To Wear Pink” in support of those fighting this terrible battle.
The keys to our success have been:
- Wearing Pink: Remember this program began as an effort to help a young mother in her battle with cancer.
- Creating CARE: Our fire fighters have embraced the idea of being able to decide where the donations are needed locally and being able to help out our own.
- Involving the Community: We are meeting with local businesses, schools, and politicians to open a dialog to discuss our efforts to fight cancer. We are also becoming involved with local cancer organizations in their fund raising events.