Dothan Fire Department raises funds for childhood cancer research

T-shirts are $15 and can be purchased now through September 15th.
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 5:39 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - It is childhood cancer awareness month and the Dothan Fire Department is going gold. Due to COVID-19 they are having to cancel their annual fun day. Despite that they are still working hard to promote childhood cancer awareness while raising funds to fight the battle at the same time. This year they say they are stronger together.

“We can’t do our 5K run this year and we can’t do our family fun day, but we can sell these shirts,” Chris Etheredge, Deputy Chief of Dothan Fire Department, said. “We can turn Dothan and the Wiregrass gold every Friday.”

T-shirts are available to purchase for fifteen dollars. All proceeds will go to the Developmental Therapeutic Program, a partnership between the Children’s Hospital of Alabama and UAB.

“We do a lot of things to help our community and this one became very personal, very quickly,” Etheredge said.

After members of the department lost childhood family members to the disease.

“I had a child who passed away,” David Hasty, Battalion Chief of Dothan Fire Department, said. “But we also had a retired captain, his granddaughter got the same cancer that my daughter also had. They both ended up passing away in 2015 so that’s really where all of this began.”

Molly and Morgan were diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that is formed in the soft tissue.

“Having those two suffering from the same cancer in our department, that’s when our membership said this is what we want to get behind,” Etheredge said. “This is what we want to raise funds for, because it’s our family. We want to do that for other families in the community. If we can do that in any way whether it’s through the research or supporting them through our thoughts and prayers as they are dealing with childhood cancer.”

A disease that’s impacting kids all too often.

“Looking at the United States there are 43 kids that are diagnosed every day with childhood cancer and if you look at the bigger picture with that, that’s over 15,000 kids,” Hasty said. “So if you localize that, you bring that home to us here, within the city of Dothan there are 9,000 kids in the school system. In Houston County there’s over 6,000 kids there so you add those together and that’s a combine total of a little over 15,000.”

Over the years they have raised roughly $70,000 since the fundraiser began, but this is more than just a T-shirt for this group, it is a passion to raise awareness.

T-shirts are by pre-order only. They can be purchased through the Dothan Fire Department Facebook page, Twitter, and their app. The last day to purchase is next Tuesday, September 15th.

Facebook: Dothan Fire Department

Twitter: @DothanFireNews

App: Dothan Fire Department

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