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Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - Bridgeton Fire Department Donates to SJH Breast Cancer Bridge

The Bridgeton Fire Department (BFD) recently donated $3,268 to South Jersey Healthcare’s Breast Cancer Bridge Program in an effort to support those in their community who have been affected by breast cancer.

From left to right: Tiffany Durham, EMT at Bridgeton Fire Department, Melanie Pirollo, administrative director of Oncology Services at SJH, Ruth Ann Bishop-Sotak, coordinator for Breast Cancer Bridge program at SJH, and Todd Bowen, Battalion Chief for Bridgeton Fire Department

In the month of October, BFD sold specially designed pink T-shirts with the slogan, “Help us axe cancer” written on the back. The fire department’s personnel also contributed to the fundraiser by purchasing their own shirts and wearing them with their uniforms throughout the month.

“Last year we bought more low-key shirts for ourselves, but this year we wanted to go with the brighter pink shirts and invite the public to join in and buy them too,” said BFD Battalion Chief Todd Bowen. “It’s nice that we can tell people that the money will go towards the local community and at the same time we can bring awareness to the support that SJH’s Breast Cancer Bridge program provides.”

Tiffany Durham, an EMT for BFD started the fundraiser back in 2009 after one of the department’s EMTs, Marilyn April — a breast cancer survivor — battled the disease in 2008.

“In previous years we donated the money we raised to a national organization,” said Durham. “This year we decided to donate to a local program because we really wanted the money to directly benefit our community.” 

The Breast Cancer Bridge Program at SJH provides personal counseling and support for women who have abnormal mammograms, breast changes or lumps, or who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing cancer treatment. A registered nurse becomes the patient’s health care advocate and friend — offering consolation, support and practical advice about breast cancer. This free service is a complement to surgical, radiation and medical oncology care and is customized around each woman’s needs and requests
“We are very appreciative of the efforts the Bridgeton Fire Department has made to support our program and our patients,” said Ruth Ann Bishop-Sotak, R.N., M.S., C.B.C.N., breast care coordinator for SJH’s Breast Cancer Bridge Program. “The department’s advocacy and support for the Breast Cancer Bridge Program, along with other organizations in the community, is crucial. It allows us to expand services to educate women and men about breast health so that early detection can provide successful treatment, as well as support them along their breast cancer journey.”