When local fire and emergency medical service agencies decided to wear pink T-shirts as part of their uniform during the month of October in 2010, no one expected the impact this colorful gesture to raise breast cancer awareness would make.
L-R: Katie Neulist, Fox Lake Fire Department; Chief Ralph Webster, Woodstock Fire Rescue District; Lt. Bill Kresal, Huntley Fire Protection District; Jerry Schillaci, McHenry Township Fire Protection District; Josh Soderberg, Lakewood Fire Department; Chief Rick Gallas, Richmond Fire Protection District; Patty Mitchell, Flight for Life.
Turning into a local phenomenon, more and more fire and emergency service agencies jumped on the pink T-shirt bandwagon to do their part. The T-shirts became a hot commodity with the community as well. Agencies like the Richmond Fire Department and Flight for Life began selling the shirts to raise funds for the Centegra Health System Foundation.”The idea to do the quilt came after the fact,” said Cindy Amore, a nurse with Centegra EMS and emergency preparedness. “We saw how many departments were engaged. They each designed their own unique T-shirt, so that is where we got the idea to do the quilt.” Diana Webster, pharmacy buyer at Centegra Hospital-Woodstock, gladly accepted the challenge to quilt the shirts. Using the front and back of 10 T-shirts donated from Flight for Life, Fox Lake, Huntley, Lakewood, McHenry, Nunda, Richmond, Wauconda, Wonder Lake and Woodstock fire and EMS agencies, Webster said the quilt took about a month make.
”My son volunteered me to make the quilt,” said Webster, whose son is the Woodstock fire chief. “I was happy to do it. Cancer support is a big thing for our family because my mom died of cancer.” Amore said she wanted to showcase the community support received, so it was decided to present the quilt to the staff at Centegra Sage Cancer Center. ”When we heard about the fire fighters wearing the Pink T-shirts, we thought it was a great idea,” said Amy Moerschbaecher, executive director oncology services at Centegra Sage Cancer Center. “Then when some of the money from the T-shirt sales was donated to the Cancer Care Fund to support the Centegra Sage Cancer Center, we were so grateful. Now, with the quilt too, we are just so honored. It is wonderful to live in a community that supports what we do here at Centegra Sage Cancer Center.”
Centegra Health System and the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation partner all year to raise awareness of the importance of early cancer detection. The Get Checked! program provides information on lifestyle changes and guidelines for routine screenings that can make a big difference in one’s life. The Gavers Cancer Resource Library is also featured at Centegra Sage Cancer Center in McHenry and offers touch-screen computers and a library inventory of books, journals and booklets. Information in the library is available in English and Spanish.
Centegra Hospital-McHenry is recognized as having one of a few cancer programs in the state to receive the Commission on Cancer (CoC) Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Additionally, all the Centegra Sage Cancer Center nurses are oncology certified.
Centegra Health System is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Physician Care Centers, Centegra Sage Cancer Center, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and more. As the region’s leading healthcare provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community. For more information on Centegra Health System visit centegra.org, search Centegra Health System on Facebook and Twitter or call 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).