CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Fire Department is observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month by outfitting firefighters and paramedics with pink shirts, masks, and gloves.
Chicago firefighters and paramedics will be wearing pink on Thursdays for the month of October - pink t-shirts, pink gloves, pink masks. The campaign kicked off at at Engine 121 headquarters, in the fire house on 95th Street in the Beverly neighborhood.
"This is the first time in fire department history we have been allowed to wear something other than our uniforms," said Fire Department Deputy District Chief Scott Ronstadt.
Fire Department Deputy District Chief Scott Ronstadt is leading the charitable effort, raising not just awareness, but also money for the American Cancer Society.
"This is more of a personal thing. My mom died of breast cancer about three years ago and I am a cancer survivor. So it is more of a personal thing for me, and I have a wife and two daughters, so again it is personal," he said.
Ronstadt is a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"This disease affects everyone - our colleagues, our friends, our wives, our daughters, our sisters, and our mothers," said Fire Commissioner Richard Ford.
The American Cancer Society said that since the start of the pandemic, the number of mammograms being performed has dropped 87 percent.
"We have to get mammograms. Ladies, we have to do this. In the black community, we succumb to breast cancer more than anyone else," said First Deputy Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt.
Thousands of pink masks were donated by EJ Masks and the t-shirts were printed by Outfitters Custom Apparel.