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Pink Fire Trucks Save Lives

August 30, 2012, 5:45 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Pink Fire Trucks Save Lives

You're probably used to seeing red fire trucks, but you might notice some pink ones driving through KELOLAND this week. The Pink Heals National Tour increases awareness about cancer.

They might not be the same color as you're used to.  But the purpose of the pink fire trucks is the same to save lives.

"It was a shock because no family history, not expecting it, a clean mammogram nine months prior," cancer patient Kim Jansen said.

Jansen is one of dozens of people in Sioux Falls who signed the truck to tell others how cancer has impacted her life.  The 44-year-old is confident she will survive her battle against breast cancer.

"When we found it nine months after a clean mammogram, it was already the size of a racquetball in the breast and already in the lymph nodes.  So if I would have waited until September for the doctor to find it, I don't know where I'd be," Jansen said.

Local people coming sign the truck aren't the only ones taking time out of their day; the people who are driving the truck are volunteers.

"We want to keep them smiling. The smile is going to keep them positive and moving in the right direction and road to recovery," North Carolina Firefighter Training Officer Duane Eastmond said.

Eastmond knows all about trying to keep a positive attitude while facing a difficult situation. His mom is a five-time cancer survivor. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32.

"I was ten-years-old, so I had to grow up real quick," Eastmond said.  "It was real tough.  But it teaches you a lot of things about life; don't take anything for granted, especially your parents and just stay strong. It actually built a strong foundation for our family."

Now Eastmond is using that strength to bring a smile to others face.

"You're a firefighter who's not afraid to wear pink? Not at all," Eastmond said.

Because while life might not always be rosy, Eastmond hopes these pink trucks will raise awareness about the disease and provide a way for others to tell their story, whether it's one of hope or healing after a loss.

"It makes you realize a lot about your own life.  And for me to sacrifice eight days away from my family is absolutely nothing compared to what these victims are having to sacrifice in their battle against cancer," Eastmond said.

And that's a sacrifice people such as Jansen are thankful for.

"I haven't been scared of it because of the support we received," Eastmond said.

It's support that can come through many different vehicles.

If you missed the pink fire trucks, you can sign them in Watertown Friday, Aberdeen on Saturday and Pierre on Sunday. Visit the Pink Fire Trucks website for a complete list of the tour and more information.

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