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Pink fire truck makes stop in Victoria

By JR Ortega
Oct. 9, 2010 at 5:09 a.m.

Firefighters and employees search high and low for places to write a note about breast cancer. The pink fire truck is part of the Pink Heals Tour, which is making its way through the U.S. to raise breast cancer awareness.

People on Victoria roads were slowing down and passing down stares late Friday night as Wendell Geigle drove the roaring fire truck down the roadways to fire station No. 4.

But he wasn't on an emergency call, rather, he was driving a less than traditional colored fire truck - it was pink.

The truck is part of the Pink Heals Tour, a group of firefighters, police officers and leaders known as the Guardians of the Ribbon, who drive through the U.S. between August and November to raise breast cancer awareness.

Geigle, a Victoria firefighter, got the chance to drive the pink truck from the hotel, where its drivers rested, to station No. 4, where firefighters and some cancer survivors signed the truck.

"I got the opportunity not just to see it, but drive it in," Geigle said excitedly.

The tour just made a pit stop for the night in Victoria, which isn't on its list of cities this year, said Ray Mitchell, firefighter.

Debbie Breeden, the Victoria Fire Department's administrative assistant, is a breast cancer survivor.

Camera flashes and silence commenced as Breeden carefully wrote her message toward the bottom of the fire truck.

"Luckily I didn't have to do chemo or radiation," said Breeden, who instead had a double mastectomy.

The 50-year-old is still undergoing reconstruction.

Elaine Mayer, who also works for the fire department, searched high and low to find a place to sign.

Mayer isn't a breast cancer survivor, but she is a colon cancer survivor.

But instead of writing a message about herself, she wrote an "in memory" to her 9-year-old niece Haley, who died of brain cancer.

"When you have a disease what is important is that people out there are aiding research," she said.

The pink truck not only serves a purpose for breast cancer, but any woman who has faced a serious illness.

Mitchell is already making plans to be on the Pink Heals Tour in 2011, he said.

This year, the fire department has noticed the amount of breast cancer support on the local level so they decided to make pink duty shirts that read: "Cares enough to wear pink."

Next year, the push will be harder.

"It's just seeing their day-to-day struggles with it," he said about Breeden and Mayer. "That's why we are out here doing this."



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