Press Release

September 20, 2009


Pink Fire Trucks Roll into Springfield in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness

Pink Heals Tour ‘09  

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To help raise awareness of breast cancer, Illinois Department of Public Health Chief of Staff Jessica Pickens and 183rd Fighter Wing Fire Chief John Ring today welcomed the national Pink Heals Tour ’09 to Springfield. The Pink Heals Tour ’09 involves the “Guardians of the Ribbon,” a group of fire fighters, police officers and community leaders traveling across the country in pink fire trucks to raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer.

“I am excited the Pink Heals Tour ’09 has stopped in Springfield to help us raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer,” Pickens said. “Breast cancer does not just impact women. It impacts husbands, grandchildren, sons and daughters of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. By wearing pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we can all show our support for women battling breast cancer and raise awareness.”

Early detection is the key to survival when it comes to breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent when it is detected early. When breast cancer is detected later, after it has progressed and transferred to other parts of the body, the survival rate drops to 26 percent.

It is estimated that 9,190 women in Illinois will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and approximately 1,850 women with breast cancer are estimated to die.

183rd Fighter Wing Fire Chief, Senior Master Sergeant John Ring, was able to schedule the Tour’s stop in Springfield.

“At a Fire Chief's conference, I met Dave Graybill and found out about the volunteer work he does for breast cancer awareness. His passion and dedication to this cause is galvanizing firefighters across the country. We were fortunate to get him to Springfield and honored to be a part of spreading this important message,” said Senior Master Sergeant Ring.

“We are a male dominated profession supporting a female dominated disease, and it is in our nature to fight for those who have lost the ability to fight for themselves,” said Tour coordinator Dave Graybill. “When the world becomes pink for at least three days in October, we can give an image of hope and courage to those who worry about being alone in their battle for life.”

All uninsured women in Illinois may be eligible to get free breast and cervical cancer screenings and low-cost treatment through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP). The program allows qualified uninsured women 35-years and older to get free cervical cancer screenings, and women 40-years and older can get free breast cancer screenings. Women found to have cancer may have access to low-cost treatment. Even women diagnosed with cancer outside of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program may still receive low-cost treatment.

Bobbie Norman was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2003 and at the urging of her doctor, enrolled in IBCCP.

“It saved my life. I had no insurance and could not afford to pay for healthcare. Because of IBCCP, I had access to excellent doctors who provided the care and treatment that all people deserve,” said Norman. “I've been cancer free for five-plus years now, and without the Program, I don't know that I would have survived.”

“So please, help me spread the word about the importance of early detection when it comes to breast cancer, and let’s make sure the women in our lives are receiving the screenings they need to stay healthy,” said Pickens. “Join the Pink Heals Tour ’09 in supporting women battling breast cancer by wearing pink, and together we can help raise awareness and fight breast cancer.”

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
Questions or Comments