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|Last Updated: Monday, November 05, 2012|
Firefighter Cancer Support Network Gala Dinner a Success
The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza was the site of the 2nd Annual Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) Gala Dinner and Fundraiser entitled "Fight Cancer With Fire". The evening was hosted by local news anchor Rick Chambers with special guest Paul Rodriguez and featuring entertainment by the Alley Cats known as "America's Premier Doo-Wop Group".
The dinner was held during the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) John P. Redmond Symposium, a conference on health and safety. According to FCSN President Mike Dubron, 570 people from across North America paid a donation of $125 per plate with the money going to the operations of the FCSN whose objective is to provide timely assistance to all fire service members and their families in the event of a cancer diagnosis.
"It's important that as firefighters we change our mentality. We tend to take our protective gear off too quickly, like in the overhaul phase of the fire, where either through inhalation, absorption, or ingestion, we can be exposed to carcinogens," Dubron explained in a telephone interview.
"We provide educational seminars throughout the year to educate firefighters on how to be more proactive. We understand that we, as firefighters, are at a higher risk than the general population. We can do things to reduce or minimize that risk," said Dubron.
Monies from this gala also go to support the FCSN's toolbox program. "We send out a toolbox of valuable information to firefighters and their families that are initially diagnosed with cancer. When you empty it out, it becomes a file box that can be used to keep copies of important information inside to help stay organized. We provide this free of charge to firefighters all across North America," said Dubron.
As guests arrived, they were treated to a static display of Squad 51 from the 70's television show "Emergency" and greeted by the star of the show, Randolph Mantooth, who also spoke briefly during the gala. The evening began with the opening presentation of colors by the Los Angeles County Fire Honor Guard and the California Professional Firefighters Pipes and Drums. Another celebrity participant in the evenings events was Audrina Patridge who helped with the many items that were auctioned off.
Some of the items guests had a chance to bid on this year were VIP visits to Jay Leno's garage, FDNY helmets signed by Dennis Leary and the cast of "Rescue Me", a New York Giants helmet signed by Mark Sanchez, a USC helmet signed by coach Pete Carroll, and a fire helmet signed by Joe Torre along with an autographed copy of his book, "The Yankee Years". There were also many items on display for a silent auction that included trips and a pair of snow skies, according to Dubron.
One highlight of the evening was a show by comic Paul Rodriguez. After he finished his set and left the stage, he reappeared wearing firefighter turnouts and running back on stage. He also came back later this time dressed as a waiter moving through tables and taking orders, it was hilarious, Dubron said.
A raffle was held and the 4 final ticket holders were asked to come up on stage while their numbers were picked for either a 46' Sharp Aquos LCD Television, a netbook computer, a Wii console including the game "Real Heroes: Firefighter", or a jar of Lemonheads candy. "The winner of the jar of candy walked away disappointed until I told him to look inside where he found a $500 gift certificate to Guess Jeans inside," Dubron exclaimed.
For the first time, the FCSN minted two challenge coins with the slogan "Fight Cancer With Fire" on one side and their logo on the other. One is an organizational coin and the other is specifically for cancer survivors, all are individually numbered. During the evening, Dubron asked all the cancer survivors in the audience to stand, he estimates there were 30 or 40, and they were presented with the coins.
Once again this year awards were presented. The Spirit of Debbi Wood Award was presented "to an Firefighter Cancer Support Network member who displays compassion to those firefighters and their families diagnosed with cancer and exemplifies the mission of the FCSN," according to Dubron. This year's winner was FCSN New York Regional Director Tony Cruz. The Dallas Jones Memorial Award is "awarded to the fire service member who promotes not only FCSN awareness and cancer awareness but has a proactive attitude regarding cancer," said Dubron. This year's recipient is Rich Duffy, assistant to the general President of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
"Planning has already begun for next year's event to be held in Los Angeles and the 2011 event will be in New York," said Dubron.
For more information on the Firefighter Cancer Support Network visit www.firefightercancersupport.org. "We encourage firefighters to log onto the website to join the FCSN and become a member so we can communicate with them program updates, special events and how they can get involved in FCSN. We are the only program out there that is endorsed by the IAFF and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)," said Dubron.
Author:Barbara Brooks - FDNNTV.com
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