(Posted Oct. 27, 2014)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the London Fire Department has found a big way to spread the word any time of year.
Last year, the fire department pur-chased a used fire engine. In addition to new equipment, the vehicle needed a new paint job. The estimated cost to repaint the engine was $20,000, said Chief Todd Eades.
Instead of paint, the department decided to pursue a different route, picking up on an idea they saw at a fire expo a couple of years ago. The idea: apply a permanent, custom designed vinyl cladding in pink to promote breast cancer awareness.
“This fits right in with our goal of doing more partnerships here in the community. We already do the toy drive and a lot with MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association). With this project, we are partnering with Madison County Hospital for breast cancer awareness,” said Chief Todd Eades.
The hospital supplied photos of local breast cancer survivors for the design. The photos are part of the hospital’s “Cure Your Fears” awareness campaign. Custom Sign Center in Columbus donated the design work, materials and installation, a $10,000 value. The company, owned by a Madison County family, is a regular supporter of the Hospital Foundation. The project was completed a few weeks ago.
Beth Daniels Monti of London is one of the survivors pictured on the engine. Diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in October 2002, she has been cancer-free for 12 years.
“I have been very honored to be a representative for the ‘Cure Your Fears Campaign.’ The fire engine was just an added plus and a surprise. What a great way to get the message out to all to get that mammogram!” Monti said.
“I have close friends who have battled the disease, some twice, but we are all survivors and it is our duty in some shape or form to be advocates for breast cancer—from lending your shoulder to let someone cry on and just being there for them, to getting your picture out there on pamphlets and the big pink fire truck.”
The pink engine made its debut Sept. 26 at Madison-Plains High School for the Golden Eagles’ football game against London. The game was part of the Spielman Gridiron Classic, a series of football games in Ohio dedicated to promoting breast cancer awareness and raising money for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.
“We’re using the engine as a community service,” said firefighter Tiff Roberts. “We’ll take it anywhere anyone requests. It doesn’t have to be just London.”
Roberts has already made arrangements to park it at next year’s Komen Race for the Cure in Columbus, an event that draws thousands of people.
“It will be right down in the middle of everything,” Roberts said.
To learn more about the pink fire engine, call Tiff Roberts at the London Fire Department, (740) 852-4297.