The Pink Heals Tour and its pink fire trucks made their way through Mount Pleasant last week, and residents showed support for its mission.
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Morey Cancer Center joined together to help raise cancer awareness by hosting the tour, a non-profit organization founded by former professional athlete and firefighter Dave Graybill that helps raise cancer awareness throughout the country with pink fire trucks.
“It’s a great event to help raise awareness about all forms of cancer,” Margaret Steslicki, medical clinic director at the Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center and cancer survivor, said. “Cancer affects men and women every day. It needs all the attention it can get. This is a wonderful event, and the tribe has been very helpful.”
Steslicki has been cancer-free for more than 20 years, after receiving a bone marrow transplant in 1990.
The Pink Heals Tour travels throughout the country in pink fire trucks to raise cancer awareness on all types of cancer, not just breast cancer, separating it from many other pink ribbon organizations.
During the parade, the pink trucks were escorted by fire trucks and police cruisers from throughout Isabella County.
After the parade, the trucks parked in the casino parking lot while members of the tribe set up a drum circle for cancer survivors. Meanwhile, the fire truck drivers sold Pink Heals t-shirts and merchandise that is used to fund the tour and support awareness.
Each fire truck, named after women who have lost their battles with cancer, is fully covered inside and out with words written in black marker from cancer survivors, their friends and family offering well-wishes and encouragement to continue the fight.
The trucks also serve as rolling memorials to loved ones who have been lost to cancer. Between the encouraging words on the trucks sit words of remembrance and mourning.
“We’re all battling cancer together, because we are all one with the Earth as a family,” said Beatrice Jackson, a cancer survivor and helping healer for behavior health for the tribe.
Jackson discovered her cancer 14 years ago at a sun dance. On her sun dance staff, she hangs 14 feathers. Each feather represents a gift of blood, a year being cancer free, Jackson said.
“(Cancer) didn’t take our hope. It didn’t take our perseverance,” Jackson said. “We don’t know what will happen. All we can do is support one another and never give up hope.”
For more information on the Pink Heals Tour and where the tour will be next, visit pinkfiretrucks.org