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Pinellas firefighters think pink to fight cancer

Pinellas Park firefighters are wearing pink in October to raise awareness of breast cancer. Modeling are from left, Brian Davies, Rob Day, Nick DelGrosso, Bert Williams and John Finn.

Courtesy of the Pinellas Park Fire Department

Pinellas Park firefighters are wearing pink in October to raise awareness of breast cancer. Modeling are from left, Brian Davies, Rob Day, Nick DelGrosso, Bert Williams and John Finn.

PINELLAS PARK — A few months ago, Pinellas Park decided to change from greenish-yellow fire trucks to red. Now, the city's firefighters are trading in their blue uniform shirts for pink.

But it's only for a month. The pink T-shirts are part of a fundraising drive to benefit the Susan G. Komen Fund and support breast cancer survivors.

"It seemed like it would be a fun thing to do," said Nick DelGrosso, who spearheads the Pinellas Park fire union's fundraising efforts.

Pinellas Park is just one of the county's fire departments getting into pink.

Largo's firefighters are fielding a team Saturday at the 12th Annual Susan G. Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure at Vinoy Park. The team — Firefighters for Hooters — is a merger of two other teams, Firefighters for the Cure (Cause) and corporate team Hooters.

They're also bringing the Guardians of the Ribbon — Pink Heals Tour to Pinellas on Tuesday.

The Guardians of the Ribbon are mostly firefighters based in Arizona who tour the United States in a pink fire truck wearing pink firefighting gear. The goal is to raise awareness and money for women battling all types of cancer.

The truck and pink-clad firefighters will travel the county, beginning their day in St. Petersburg, traveling to the beaches and ending up in Pinellas Park at Quaker Steak and Lube, 10400 49th St. N, where they will stay for about four hours. The Quaker Steak event will include a display of antique fire trucks, a dunk tank and vendors, said the organizer, Macho Liberti, a Largo firefighter.

Proceeds will go to a new charity based in Tarpon Springs called One in a Million, formed this year.

The name comes from Donna Bollman's experience. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years ago, a form so rare that only one in a million people — 300 or so in the United States — have that kind of cancer, she said.

At the time, Bollman was a small-business owner who was unable to afford insurance. She lost everything in paying for her surgery and treatment. Bollman, now 52, had no place to turn.

She decided to form One in a Million to help female cancer sufferers with specific needs, such as housecleaning or pet food.

Pinellas Park's firefighters, known for their annual chili blaze to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, decided on something less complicated for this cause. Firefighters who bought pink T-shirts will be able to wear them on the job during October.

Now others want the shirts. "If shirt sales keep up the way they are going, I believe we could double" the $1,000 goal, DelGrosso said.

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

If you're interested

• To buy an official Pinellas Park firefighter's pink T-shirt, drop by Fire Station 33, 5000 82nd Ave. N, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. Shirts cost $20 each For information, call Nick DelGrosso at (727) 687-4494 or e-mail

ndelgrosso@tampabay.rr.com.

• The Guardians of the

Ribbon — Pink Heals Tour will be at Quaker Steak and Lube, at 10400 49th St. N, from about 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. For information, go to pinkfiretrucks.org.

• The 12th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will be held Saturday at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Team judging begins at 7 a.m. The 10K race begins at 7:30 a.m., and the 5K race and walk begins at 8:15 a.m. Visit komen

suncoast.org to learn more.

• For information about the Largo firefighters' team, visit firefightersforhooters.com or firefightersfor

thecause.org.

Pinellas firefighters think pink to fight cancer 09/25/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 25, 2010 3:49pm]

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