Athens firefighters get early start on thinking pink

by Holly Hollman
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ATHENS-Athens firefighters are already thinking pink in support of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and they are thinking about their friends in blue as well.

There are two fundraisers underway that will support local breast cancer efforts and support a fellow police officer.

Athens Fire and Rescue is selling breast cancer awareness shirts, and the Athens Professional Firefighters Association is
working with the Athens Police Department to host a Community Tailgate Day fundraiser.

Proceeds from the shirts will support the Athens-based Stacy Wolfe Breast Cancer Foundation. The foundation supports
cancer patients and their families by helping meet their immediate needs. Wolfe started the foundation after her own
battle with breast cancer.

Shirt sales are online through Sept. 4 at: There are T-shirt and
sweatshirt options.

Proceeds from the Community Tailgate Day on Oct. 21 will support Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation’s Pink Elephant
Fund, which provides mammogram scholarships. This event will also support the cost for an Athens police officer to
purchase a service animal for his child who has autism and experiences seizures.

The Community Tailgate Day will be at John Barnes Park in Ardmore. Registration is underway for teams to compete in
the softball and corn hole tournaments. For the softball tournament, a majority of the team must be first responders,
healthcare employees, city employees or county employees. To sign up a team for softball, the cost is $250 per team. Call
Martin Ezell at 256-777-2947. To sign up a team for corn hole, call Scott Jackson at 256-777-5712. The cost is $50 per

Families can join the fun as there will an area to watch the games, inflatables, food trucks and football on TVs. Admission
is $5.

“Athens Fire is and always has been willing to help out when our department can, whether it’s a tragedy or when
someone is faced with a special or unique situation,” said Athens Fire and Rescue Chief James Hand. “We have a great
working relationship with our Police Department, and when we heard an officer needs a service dog to help aid his child,
it was a no brainer for us.”

Hand said the department has a history of supporting of breast cancer awareness. Firefighters wear breast cancer
awareness shirts each October, and will again this year.

According to the American Cancer Society’s 2023 statistics, there will be an estimated 4,500 new female breast cancer
cases in Alabama this year, and 720 deaths. Although not as common, men also suffer from breast cancer. ACS estimates
there will be 2,800 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in men in the United States this year, and 530 men will
die from breast cancer in the U.S.

“We all have had family members or know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer,” Hand said. “It's
important to us to honor the ones who have been faced with this and to raise funds to help support research and

Caroline Canestrari, director of the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation, said the foundation is grateful for Athens
Fire’s support as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“We all have been touched in some way by this disease,” she said. “Having their support enables us to continue providing
mammogram scholarships for women in Limestone County not covered by health insurance. Also, the Pink Elephant Fund
provides upgrades to women's diagnostic equipment to provide the earliest detection possible right here in Limestone

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