Firefighters turn out to fight cancer

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SANDPOINT — In addition to fighting fires, Selkirk firefighters will be in the pink this month to support the fight against breast cancer.

The firefighters are sporting the color pink in their normal uniform throughout October as part of their effort to bring awareness to the fight against breast and other cancers.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a perfect opportunity to advocate for men and women everywhere in their fight against breast cancer and to educate the public about this important issue, said Michael Gow, firefighter with the Selkirk Fire Department and president of JAFF Local 2319.

“Firefighters are motivated to get involved for many reasons, and often it’s because they have been personally affected by the disease,” said Gow. “We are supporting breast cancer awareness and prevention by encouraging others to give so that no breast cancer patient goes without life-saving treatments or having hope for a cure.”

According to the website, breastcancer.orgn, about one in eight women are diagnosed each year, and an estimated 246,660 new cases of breast cancer and 40,450 deaths will be reported in 2016. Among all women affected, 85 percent have no family history.

Men are also susceptible to breast cancer, according to the website. More than 2,600 new cases are estimated to be diagnosed in men in 2016. Firefighters exposed to carcinogens and other chemicals while on the job are disproportionately diagnosed with breast cancer — just one of many cancers linked to the work firefighters do, Gow said.

Everyone is at risk for breast cancer, with the two most important risk factors are being female and getting older, Gow noted in a press release.

“Most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no other known factors,” he said. “To help reduce your risk, be sure to maintain a healthy weight, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercise and limit alcohol consumption.”

In the press release, Gow and the rest of the Selkirk firefighters encouraged everyone in the community to participate in breast cancer awareness and prevention activities.

“You can help by supporting Community Cancer Services on Nov. 5 for a Night to Remember at the Bonner County Fairgrounds,” Gow said.

The night includes wine tasting, gourmet dinner with musical entertainment, dancing, with both live and silent auctions. All proceeds are dedicated to supporting the financial and emotional needs of local cancer patients and their families.

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