You are likely to see some local police and firefighters rocking pink shirts or pink patches this month.
No need to get your eyes checked. It's part of an effort in the Hanford Police and Fire departments and the Lemoore Police Department to help focus awareness to breast cancer.
For some of the officers, the effort has a personal connection.
Mark Pescator, a police officer who has been working for LPD for the past 15 years, said both his grandmother and mother were diagnosed with breast cancer.
His grandmother suffered through several bouts of cancer before she died, but his mother was able to beat it and is now cancer free. He said at first doctors didn't diagnose his mother with breast cancer although “something didn’t feel right to her.”
Pescator and his family are now real proponents for shedding light on breast cancer and participate in Relays for Life to help spread awareness about the importance of yearly checkups.
“I think the biggest thing to remember is to be emotionally there for them,” Pescator said, about his mother and grandmother. “While [my mom] was going through the process, we tried taking care of her when she was home. We tried to be there for support, and I told her that I was going to be more of a fighter with her.”
Linda Deeds, police service technician for HPD, can remember exactly what it’s like going through the process after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001.
“I freaked out like anybody would. I lost all my hair, my eyelashes everything,” Deeds said.
Deeds said she experienced a lot of nausea and the doctors couldn’t give her medicine for it since she is also diabetic.
“I would get so sick for about five days straight. I would just throw up. You get to the point where you don’t want to eat because nothing tastes good,” Deeds said.
Deeds kept working through the six months of radiation treatment and the subsequent months of chemotherapy. She would schedule her appointments around her work schedule.
“I think it was probably good for me to keep working,” Deeds said. "It was either sit at home and feel bad and sorry for myself, or work and get out and keep moving.”
Chris Frediani, firefighter for the Hanford Fire Department, can recall his mom being diagnosed with breast cancer and her refusing to stop working.
“My mom didn’t want us talking about cancer. She was pretty strong about the whole thing,” Frediani said. “She didn’t stop working; she was really focused on fighting it.”
Frediani’s sister who is also a firefighter was diagnosed with cervical cancer, but is now cancer free.
He thinks sometimes the most important thing to do is to stay positive for them and make sure they visit a doctor and get those yearly checkups.
“…support them in any way possible and make that extra effort,” Frediani said.
Matthew Martinez, a firefighter who works alongside Frediani, said breast cancer is always on his mind after his grandmother and some of her sisters passed away from cancer.
“Just knowing that there's history in the family, my mom was always stressed out about it. She never wanted that bad news,” Martinez said. “I’m glad there's a lot more awareness out there now. It’s really been brought up in the open, everybody is talking about it.”