Greensburg VFD T-shirt sales benefit breast cancer patients

·3 min read

Sep. 11—Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department is encouraging area residents to add some pink to their wardrobe.

The department has a little less than 100 pink — or gray — T-shirts available for purchase in its annual sale supporting Westmoreland County families affected by breast cancer.

"Cancer has touched a bunch of our lives," said department President Rick Steele. "This is one of the things we felt we could get behind and provide some help in difficult times."

Money raised through the T-shirt sales will be donated to the Pink Angel Fund of Westmoreland Walks. Started in 2002, that volunteer group is dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer, funding research toward a cure and assisting local breast cancer patients, survivors and their families.

The fire department sold about 100 shirts five years ago and ordered more than 275 for this year's sale.

"If we sell all the shirts this year, we should be able to donate more than $2,000," said Steele.

The shirt design has changed through the years. The current one includes a patriotic theme featuring the image of an eagle.

The message it conveys, according to Steele: "Women fighting breast cancer aren't fighting this alone. We're fighting this as a team."

The shirts are priced at $20 for small to extra large, $25 for 2XL to 5XL and must be ordered in advance by visiting gbgfire.com. Orders may be picked up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 17 or 8 to 10 a.m. Sept. 18 at the fire department's No. 8 station, at 900 Highland Ave.

Kathy Brown, board president of Westmoreland Walks, said the Greensburg firefighters' T-shirt sale is an important source of funding for the Pink Angel Fund. "Each year they have increased the amount of money they donate to us," she said.

Brown said the fund helps Westmoreland breast cancer patients and their families when they are in financial need, with everything from a ride to a medical appointment to a cell phone bill.

Some of the money is used by two local specialty stores to help customers cover the costs of breast cancer items — such as compression bras and lymphedema sleeves — when their medical insurance falls short, she said.

The sleeves provide relief for women who have had multiple lymph nodes removed in treating their cancer, Brown explained. "The lymph builds up in their arms and can be very painful," she said. "Insurance only pays for two sleeves a year. That's not enough."

Westmoreland Walks' own major annual fundraising event, its Pink Ribbon Walk, takes place at 11 a.m. Oct. 1 at Twin Lakes Park. Individuals or teams can register in advance by searching under "Events" at westmorelandwalks.org or by stopping at a pop-up registration location 10-2 Sept. 17 or 24 or 5-7 Sept. 23 by JCPenney on the upper level of Westmoreland Mall.

Those who would like to seek assistance through Westmoreland Walks can send a message through the organization's Facebook page or can call 724-441-4130.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff by email at jhimler@triblive.com or via Twitter .