Pink is the uniform of the month for IAFF members throughout the United States and Canada. Hundreds of affiliates are conducting breast cancer awareness campaigns during October, trading blue duty shirts for pink in support of women in the fight against all cancers.
Despite a difficult economy and the challenges our members face, it's truly inspiring to see so many IAFF affiliates "caring enough to wear pink." When delegates at the IAFF 50th Convention passed a resolution to support and encourage members to participate in breast cancer awareness campaigns, we could not have predicted that our membership would immediately take action. From small locals like South Beach Fire and EMS Local 3689 - with just nine members - to big locals like CAL Fire - IAFF members are wearing pink in force to help find a cure for breast cancer.
The IAFF is proud to see the positive effect the pink T-shirt campaigns are having in communities across North America in inspiring others to join the fight against cancer.
We wanted to recognize these efforts in the International Fire Fighter magazine, but it's become clear that there are so many more stories than can fit. So, we've created an online page for posting additional stories and photos from the dozens and dozens of affiliates that have sent them to us.
Many IAFF members and their families have been affected by cancer, so it's a cause that often hits close to home.
Members of Portsmouth, NH Local 1313 and Portsmouth, NH Local 4039 dressed in pink to support the many women fighting breast cancer, but also one of their own - Sarah Fox. A 10-year veteran of Local 1313, Sarah, her husband Matt, and their five children are in a fight against cancer. Local 1313 and 4039 members have rallied to help in many ways, raising thousands to help her with expenses.
Similarly, in Batavia, New York, all members of Batavia Local 896 agreed to wear pink T-shirts as a sign of support after the wife of a fire fighter was diagnosed with breast cancer.
You can read more stories like these online.
While most affiliates had the support of their city leaders, the City of Stockton, California, told fire fighters they were prohibited from either selling or giving away any of the "Passionately Pink for the Cure" T-shirts Local 456 had designed and funded for the cause. Local 456 members were told they would face disciplinary action for violating the directive. Fire fighters were also only permitted to wear the shirts on one day. Although Local 456 was unable to use to shirts to raise money for breast cancer awareness, we encouraged Stockton members to enter their shirt in our "best pink campaign T-shirt design" contest.
The response to this idea has been overwhelming with nearly 100 entries (deadline to enter was October 29 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time). The creativity and commitment of our affiliates is incredible. We encourage you to vote for the design you like best. Best pink T-shirt design will also be added as a category in the IAFF Media Awards Contest - look for entry forms early next year.
The winning local earns bragging rights and a free registration to the IAFF Affiliate Leadership Training Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, in January.