Athens Police And Fire Departments Don Pink For Breast Cancer Charity< < Back to
<P>Officer A.J. Spear hears the whispers about his uniform, the double-takes of people on the street. Sometimes it even comes from the criminals themselves.
<P>“Did you see that? He’s got a pink badge.”
<P>For the Athens Police Department, donning bright pink badges is a show of honor, a recognition of courage for those suffering from breast cancer and the hope from survivors. In a word, the pink badges mean strength.
<P>Although it’s the first year APD has tried out the pink badges in support of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, almost all on the force have worn them this month, Spear said. The badges were supplied by Blackinton, a police badge retailer, which donates 10 percent of all proceeds to charity.
<P>“We thought it would be something neat for the department,” Spear said, adding that the badges have received “overwhelming support” from the community.
<P>Officer Rick Crossen said the badges are especially popular in traveling to schools as a D.A.R.E. educator, gaining approval from teachers and students alike.
<P>Given this popularity from the community and within the police department, Spear hopes to keep them around for Octobers to come.
<P>“I see this sticking around,” he said.
<P>For decades, the color pink has come to represent breast cancer awareness, most notably through ribbons often associated with the cause.
<P>“It’s a color that’s become synonymous with breast cancer awareness,” said Tammy Bobo, organizer with the Athens County Relay for Life. “Anytime a group as visible as the police department takes on that role (of awareness), they need to be commended.”
<P>Bev Kubachka, chairwoman for the Athens County Relay, said as a breast cancer survivor, the color is particularly special. Pink means not only recognizing those who have been through the struggle, but for trying to proactively educate others.
<P>“The biggest thing is it brings out awareness for peoples’ necessity for being screened, providing funding for people who aren’t able to get screening so we can do a better job in identifying it early,” Kubachka said.
<P>Alongside APD, the Athens Fire Department is also involved in raising awareness for the cause, continuing to sell T-shirts each October to raise money for the Southeastern Ohio Breast Cancer Survivor’s Network.
<P>“We wear them to work for the month of October as our uniform shirt,” Capt. Bruce Smith said.
<P>Almost 400 shirts have been sold so far this year, Smith said, each costing $12. Shirts will be available for purchase during the Homecoming parade and the Chili Bowl Cook Off at the Market on State this Saturday afternoon, as well as at the fire department as supplies last.
<P>Sarah Tipton, with the Survivor’s Network, said proceeds for the shirts go toward helping breast cancer patients travel to receive treatments. In partnering with Ohio University’s Chi Omega sorority, the Survivor’s Network hopes to donate thousands of dollars this year to those affected by breast cancer.
<P>And that, Bobo said, is what pink is all about — the support and love toward reaching the goal of a cure.
<P>“I see (pink) as a celebration of the community,” she said.