By Mary O’KEEFE
October is breast cancer awareness month and, while it is common to see the Glendale Police Dept. officers in their black and white patrol vehicles, this month the GPD will add a little color to raise awareness to a disease that is far too common.
Officer Teal Metts and GPD spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot first approached Sgt. Robert William with their idea for a breast cancer awareness SUV. The vehicle has been making the rounds around the city and on Tuesday it stopped by Glendale Adventist Medical Center.
Metts’ family owns Bistagne Bros. Body Shop in Glendale. The officer had an idea to wrap one of the department’s vehicles in pink to bring breast cancer awareness to the streets.
“My [mother] is completing her breast cancer treatment,” Metts said. “It is the second battle [with breast cancer].”
William went to Chief Robert Castro with the request for a pink SUV.
“The day Tahnee and Teal came in with the request I just found out my mother-in-law had been diagnosed with breast cancer,” William said. “It’s surreal being here.”
William’s mother-in-law was to begin treatment on Wednesday at GAMC. Earlier in the year his 13-year-old niece was diagnosed with leukemia, so cancer has touched William and his family personally.
“We are going to get the [vehicle] as much exposure as possible,” William said.
The vehicle was slated to be part of the patrol units but Castro approved it to be pulled out of the fleet for the month of October.
“It’s been very positive for awareness and for the department,” Castro said. “Cancer has touched so many of our lives.”
It was Lightfoot who suggested having people sign the pink SUV as it stopped at various events. Names of the people who have faced breast cancer cover the vehicle’s hood and names are spreading to the doors.
“[The GPD] is glad to be part of raising awareness,” Castro said.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that those 50 to 74 years old have a screening mammogram every two years. Those 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor about when to start and how often to get a screening mammogram, according to the CDC.