The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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August 19, 2013

Firefighters join hospital to suit up in fight against breast cancer

— There are 192 people in Limestone County who have the opportunity to detect breast cancer and possibly catch it early, all because of some popular T-shirts.

Each year the Athens Fire and Rescue Auxiliary sells breast cancer awareness T-shirts as a fundraiser. In 2012, the auxiliary partnered with the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation on the project and together they raised about $24,000 for the Pink Elephant Mammogram Scholarship Fund.

That fund provides mammogram scholarships worth $125 each to someone in Limestone County who has a doctor’s order for a mammogram but insurance won’t pay for the procedure or the person does not have insurance.

According to the American Cancer Society, every year over 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer. An estimated 3,720 new cases will be diagnosed in Alabama this year. An estimated 690 will die from breast cancer this year in Alabama, the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the state.

Early detection with mammograms can help increase survival rates. The American Cancer Society estimates  overall breast cancer death rates are down 33 percent.

To help support local efforts to battle the disease, purchase this year’s breast cancer awareness T-shirt. The shirts come in black or pink and short or long sleeve. The back design has a pink fire truck sporting a pink ribbon on the grill and the words, “Athens Fighting For A Cure”. The front has the hospital’s pink elephant logo.

The pink elephant symbolizes how breast cancer used to be like the elephant in the room no one wanted to talk about and how that silence is not an option.

Shirts are $15 for short sleeve and $20 for long sleeve. Shirts will be available  Monday, Aug. 19, at City Hall and the Athens-Limestone Hospital gift shop.

Starting in October, Athens firefighters will wear pink each day in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Citizens can join them by participating in Pink Posse Fridays each Friday in October. Encourage co-workers, friends, students and others to don pink each Friday and send photos to the city of Athens at hhollman@athensal.us. Mayor Ronnie Marks plans to sign a proclamation recognizing Pink Posse Fridays.

For more information about the T- shirts, contact Dawn Blakely at 256-233-8710 or email her at dblakely@athensal.us.

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