On Monday afternoon, Chief Steve Cordell and other representatives with the Henderson Fire Department presented the administration and staff of Maria Parham Health with a check for $13,300 to be used for care and resources for cancer patients.
Over a period of three days in October, the fire department held their second annual Breast Cancer Boot Drive to raise money for Maria Parham Oncology Center’s “Angel Fund.”
The “Angel Fund,” according to Hope Breedlove with Maria Parham Oncology, was created to help patients overcome the financial hardships that serve as barriers to cancer treatment and care.
According to Captain Lee Edmonds, the fire department was proud to top last year’s donation amount. “This is our second year doing the boot drive; last year we raised $11,353,” said Edmonds. “We had our pink boots and helmets out on Dabney Drive in front of Henderson Fire Department Station 1 raising money.”
While the pink boot drive just wrapped up its second year, Edmonds said the idea to raise funds for breast cancer started five years ago with part-time fire department member Ian Arthur.
“Ian came to Chief one day and asked if the department could get pink shirts made for breast cancer awareness, and Chief said yes. He [Ian] had a design made up, and the guys sold the shirts. That’s when we said we had to have something to give the proceeds to and we found the ‘Angel Fund’ at Maria Parham.”
With t-shirt sales only raising $2,500 – $3,000 each year, Edmonds said Chief Cordell had the idea to try a boot drive instead. “We raised so much more money on the boot drive that we felt we should continue,” said Edmonds.
Edmonds said the firefighters are proud to be a part of a fundraiser that allows Vance County citizens to give back to their fellow community members. “We felt that with this money going to Maria Parham Oncology, it would help our own people in the community. In today’s time, everyone is touched by cancer in some way, whether it is family or friends.”
In addition to being a morale booster for the firefighters, Edmonds said the annual boot drive is also a lot of fun. “With 30 members, each shift wants to outdo the other on their daily amount raised. So it’s always fun at the end of the day when all the guys are standing there waiting for the final number to see who guessed the closest.”
The donated funds also mean a lot to Maria Parham. “It’s hard to put into words what this means to us,” said Breedlove. “In our community, we don’t have a lot of resources for patients. It means a lot to have the support of our fire department and we thank them for coming through and making this possible.”
Breedlove also expressed gratitude for all the community support of this drive. “We are very thankful for everyone who came down Dabney Drive those three days and put money in those pink boots. It’s going to stay right here in Vance County and help our patients here at Maria Parham.”