Firefighters raise $5K for cancer screenings

PARKERSBURG – A promotion by the Parkersburg Fire Department has raised more than $5,000 to help women obtain cancer screening services.

Firefighters wore and sold pink T-shirts throughout October and raised $5,033 for the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“That number is fantastic,” said Shelly Dusic, health information specialist for the program in Morgantown.

A check was presented to the agency Monday morning. Firefighters also participated in the ceremonial passing of the big check.

The promotion is a national endeavor done for the first time in the Parkersburg department, said Firefighter Mike Bartenschlag, who first proposed the fundraiser.

He was appreciative and surprised of the amount raised. At $15 each, with larger sizes above XL $2 more, the department sold 521 pink T-shirts, Bartenschlag said.

“It was better than the number I had in mind,” he said.

Next year perhaps the promotion will start earlier, Bartenschlag said.

Nonetheless, it was a good response from the community, Fire Chief Eric Taylor said.

“There was a lot of effort put into it,” Taylor said. “For the size of the community, that’s a pretty good percentage.”

The money will be used for screening for breast and cervical cancers for women who don’t have insurance or the means to pay for them, Dusic said. The area has one of the higher counts of providers in the program’s service area, she said.

“Wood County is one of our bigger screening providers,” Dusic said.

The money goes to the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, the administrator of the funds, she said.

However, all the money raised stays here, Dusic said.

“Every penny goes back into the community,” she said.