Santa Paula Times

Santa Paula Firefighters are in the pink for the month of October to bring awareness to breast cancer. Funds for the shirts were provided by the Santa Paula Firefighters Association, which is sponsoring is annual fundraising golf tournament October 19 at Elkins Golf Course. Above are: Front row, Milo Bustillos, John Harber, Andy VanSciver, Matt Klein, Chief Rick Araiza, Tim Harris, Alex Horton, Daniel Cody, Matt Lindsey, Bryan Eaton. Back Row, Josh Liko, Andrew Dowd

SPFD in the pink for October to promote breast cancer awareness

October 09, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

Real men wear pink and Santa Paula firefighters - male and female - will be wearing pink throughout October to promote breast cancer awareness. 

According to Santa Paula Fire Fighters Association President Andy VanSciver, “The effort is intended to bring awareness to all of the individuals and families in our community who have been affected by this disease.

“It is becoming a tradition that firefighters across the nation wear pink T-shirts in October. This is the first year the Santa Paula Fire Department joins in this tradition.”

And just how pink is pink? 

“Don’t know,” VanSciver said Friday, “we’ll know when we get them in a little bit.”

But, he noted, “These pink shirts are the exact same work shirt,” with the name of the local department on the back and the SPFD logo on the front.

Such shirts are normally worn underneath the uniform but VanSciver said Fire Chief Rick Araiza “Has given us the permission not to wear our uniform shirts for the rest of October,” so firefighters can show their support of the fight against breast and other cancer.

Statistics show that everyone has been touched by cancer either by knowing someone who has survived the disease, their own cancer diagnosis or has lost a friend or family member to cancer.

“Firefighters,” said VanSciver, “are not immune; rather, they are in one of the highest risk categories for cancer.”

According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, multiple studies have demonstrated statistically higher rates of various types of cancers in firefighters compared to the general American population. Such rates are believed to stem from the firefighters exposure to smoke, fumes and at times hazardous materials. 

VanSciver said the SPFD, “Commonly responds to medical calls to help individuals who are battling cancer,” and the department has traditionally supported the annual Santa Paula Relay for Life event as well as participants, “For many years honoring cancer survivors by placing medals around the necks,” of those who have survived a cancer battle.

The SPFD “Has also participated in the battle for children’s cancer by raising money and shaving their heads for the St Baldrick’s Foundation,” which as of October has raised $125,251,567 to help fight children’s cancer; not only a fundraiser, the annual St. Baldrick’s event shows solidarity with children who are battling cancer and have lost their hair while undergoing cancer treatment.

The Santa Paula Fire Fighters Association provided the funding for the pink T-shirts, creating no impact to the city or the SPFD budget. 

“Have I worn pink before? No, I didn’t have a pink shirt before,” but VanSciver said all firefighters will be in the pink showing their common support of the cause.

There were no dissidents: “Everybody wants to do it,” and the trend of wearing pink T-shirts through October is one being embraced by firefighters throughout the nation.

And that includes pink fire engines and police patrol cars dispatched by Pink Heals, a fundraising organization that sends out the unusually colored vehicles with appropriate matching uniformed personnel who volunteer to raise money throughout the United States. VanSciver said funding for the shirts comes from the association’s annual golf fundraiser, scheduled October 19 at Elkins Ranch Golf Course in Fillmore. 

Call VanSciver to learn more about donating to or playing in this year’s tournament ( or 805-469-7504).

“The SPFD is encouraging the public to join them in the fight against cancer by wearing pink T-shirts throughout the month of October,” he noted.

For more information about Relay for Life visit and enter ZIP Code 93060 to find out more about the April 26 Santa Paula Relay at Limoneira Soccer Fields.

Visit St. Baldrick’s Foundation at 

St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraisers are held each year on or near St. Patrick’s Day; local events have been held in Ventura.

To learn more about Pink Heals visit