Pink Helmet funds go to Woman’s Hospital _lowres

Advocate staff photo by STACY GILL -- The Zachary Fire Department presented nearly $1,600 to the Woman's Hospital Foundation April 14 on behalf of local businesses that helped raise the money during the annual Pink Helmet Fundraiser for breast cancer research and awareness. The fundraising event is held every October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Attending the check presentation, from left, are Capt. Anthony Capone, firefighter Justin Bradley, Capt. Rudi Shoats, Chief of Training Gordon Lipscomb, Woman's Beverly Brooks Thompson, firefighter Rhett Digirolamo, Chief of Operations Glenn Triche, firefighter Stephen Jones, Woman's Melissa Curry and Captain Ronald Hives.

Several firefighters from the Zachary Fire Department presented $1,570.33 donation to the Foundation for Woman’s Hospital on April 14.

Through the Fire Department’s annual Pink Helmet fundraiser, held each October during Breast Cancer Awareness month, firefighters and local businesses join together to bring awareness to the disease and raise money for research.

About 60 Zachary businesses purchased pink helmets in 2015 for firefighters to wear. The cost for a first-time Pink Helmet participant is $315 to $400 and $50 each year thereafter.

Foundation for Woman’s President and Chief Development Officer Beverly Brook Thompson and event coordinator Melissa Curry accepted the check from firefighters.

At the presentation, Thompson shared that one in eight women will get breast cancer, and Louisiana has the highest mortality rate from breast cancer in the nation.

“Many women do not get an annual mammogram because they either cannot afford it or do not have adequate transportation to and from an appointment,” Thompson said.

As a result, Woman’s Hospital has taken the fight against breast cancer on the road with its Mobile Mammography Coach, which has performed more than 40,000 mammograms since 2006 to underserved women in an 18-parish area.

“Regardless of their ability to pay, women are still screened,” Thompson said.

In 2015, breast cancer was detected in 26 women who screened via the mobile unit, which costs about $535,000 annually to keep on the road.

The Mobile Mammography Coach visits churches, workplaces, grocery stores, community centers and more. Locally, it can be found at Zachary United Methodist Church at least once a month, Curry said.

Several Zachary firefighters started the Pink Helmet fundraiser four years ago on behalf of their mothers, who have either died or survived breast cancer.

“The goal is to detect breast cancer in the early stages. That’s the best defense,” Thompson said.

To learn more about breast cancer or how to donate to the Woman’s Mobile Mammography Coach, visit womans.org/giving.