Joliet fire trucks going pink for breast cancer fight
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News August 17, 2012 2:44PM
One of the fire trucks on PIn Heals tour. Trucks similar to this one will be coming to Joliet on Aug. 21 to foster breast cancer awareness and provide support for women and their families fighitng against breast cancer. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Pink Heals Tour
When: 5-8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Joliet Memorial Stadium, 3000 W. Jefferson St., Joliet
What: Buy either a pink or a white T-shirt and walk behind the pink fire trucks through town to raise money for women and families who have been affected by cancer in the Joliet area. Raffles will include two pink guitars, facials and massages.
Cost: $20 for adult sizes and $10 for children’s shirts
Buy: Shirts are available from Heartland Bank, 700 W. Jefferson St., Shorewood, or Joliet Oncology-Hematology Associates, 2614 W. Jefferson St., Joliet
Visit: www.pinkfiretrucks.org or Pink Heals Joliet on Facebook
Contact: 815-685-8073 or email@example.com
Updated: September 20, 2012 6:18AM
On Tuesday, when several pink fire trucks come rolling into Joliet, Sandra Fleck will be waiting for them, tissues in hand.
“I’ll probably break down crying knowing they’re coming here for the women of our community,” said Fleck, senior vice president and market leader of Heartland Bank and Trust in Joliet. “Every single dollar they raise will stay right here and go to women who are struggling with breast cancer.”
The Pink Heals tour is one component of the International Pink Heals movement, a not-for-profit organization retired firefighter Dave Graybil founded in 2007. Each volunteer-headed tour generally lasts three months.
The men and women who drive the pink fire trucks and pink police cars from town to town commit up to 18 days away from home. Sales from the Pink Heals clothing line pay for the tour.
Parade for awareness
Pink Heals tours foster continued awareness about breast cancer and encourage communities to fund raise for a local groups that support and assist the women and families affected by breast cancer. This is done by offering tour-related events and forming local chapters. Fleck hopes a Joliet chapter will be operating by next year.
Fleck, whose mother and sister are both breast cancer survivors, has planned a number of Pink Heals activities for Tuesday.
The featured event will be a 2-mile procession behind the pink trucks from 5 to 8 p.m., beginning from the Joliet Memorial Stadium. Anyone purchasing a pink or white T-shirt from either Heartland Bank in Shorewood or Joliet Oncology-Hematology Associates in Joliet may walk.
“The Joliet police will be wearing pink bands over their badges in honor of the day,” Fleck said.
Pink represents the women actively fighting breast cancer; white is for survivors and their loved ones. One hundred percent of the money raised will be donated to JOHA. The walk itself is not a traditional race.
“We’ll be moving at a slow pace,” Fleck said.
A day of events
Earlier in the day, Graybil will speak about his Pink Heals mission at an Exchange Club sponsored luncheon for area service clubs. Later, the Pink Heals tour group will stop at JOHA and deliver a message of faith and hope to cancer patients and survivors. The women will then have the opportunity to write their own messages directly on the pink vehicles.
“These trucks will never be painted,” Fleck said. “Their words will go on as a living memorial.”
Two years ago, Fleck’s husband, Matt Fleck, a Joliet firefighter, learned about Pink Heals International and requested that Joliet be included on the tour schedule. The schedule was full the first year, so the Flecks applied again. Just four weeks ago, they received the happy news.
Although Fleck had always longed to serve her community, after meeting work and family obligations, she had no time left. So when a position opened up in Shorewood, Fleck happily accepted it, stopped the long commute into Chicago and began the processing of finding her volunteer niche.
“Everyone in this community has fallen on hard times,” Fleck said. “We need to give back. We need to take care of each other.”