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Pink Heals Tour rolls into the Cape

By Staff | Oct 6, 2011

Nancy Andrews, a music teacher at Diplomat Elementary School, had the opportunity to sign “Debbie,” a pink fire truck, Wednesday afternoon after the Guardians of the Ribbon, Pink Heals Tour made a special visit to the school. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August, had surgery the second week of school, and is now cancer free. MEGHAN McCOY

Four Cape Coral Fire Department fire trucks, with sirens blaring, escorted the pink Guardians of the Ribbon, Pink Heals Tour fire truck onto the Diplomat Elementary School campus Wednesday afternoon.

The stop was to provide teachers, who are cancer survivors, with the opportunity to sign the pink truck.

The tour made a stop at Diplomat Elementary School especially for Nancy Andrews, a music teacher of 16 years at the school.

She said she felt honored when the Cape Coral Fire Department contacted her asking if they could bring the Pink Heals Tour by her house Wednesday for a house visit.

Andrews said she provided them with an even better idea – to make a stop at Diplomat Elementary School instead.

“I am honored that I was asked to be a part of it and honored I was able to share it with everyone else here,” Andrews said.

Andrews was diagnosed with breast cancer in August after she went in for her annual mammogram. She said because of that exam, the doctors were able to catch the cancer early.

Two weeks after school started she had surgery, which was successful in removing all of the tumor. Because the tumor was caught early, Andrews did not have to go through chemotherapy, but rather needed to take medication and go back for check-ups every four months.

She is shooting to come back to school and teach in two weeks.

The Pink Heals Tour left an everlasting imprint on Andrews.

“It’s overwhelming … an amazing tribute,” she said about the tour. “Just to read the names was overwhelming. To put my name up there and I’m still here is a big honor.”

Andrews said she is very thankful for the support she received after her diagnosis from her church and Diplomat Elementary School.

“My prayers have been answered,” she said.

Diplomat Elementary School Principal Linda Caruso said there are six breast cancer survivors at Diplomat Elementary School.

“It is absolutely fantastic that we are honoring people that are survivors of this disease,” she said about the stop that the Pink Heals Tour made to her school Wednesday.

Billie Fonock, who works for the Cape Coral Fire Department, wanted to get involved with the Pink Heals Tour this year by setting up personal visits for people in the community. She said in addition to the tour making a stop at Diplomat Elementary School, they also visited southeast Cape Coral, North Fort Myers and Matlacha.

Two other pink fire trucks paid a visit to the Children’s Hospital for a couple of hours, while the third was stationed in downtown Fort Myers at Patio De Leon for the day.

“This is great,” Fonock said, adding that it also is overwhelming of how many people the tour touches.

Danny Baughman, a firefighter from High Point, North Carolina decided to stay on the Pink Heals Tour an extra day on Wednesday, which gave him the opportunity to make special visits in Lee County, along with joining the block party in downtown Fort Myers Wednesday night.

“You can’t say goodbye to this tour,” he said, adding that he wanted to stay on longer because so many people have inspired him.

Although this is the first year he joined the national Pink Heals Tour for two weeks, he coordinated a stop at High Point where he revealed the truck “Debbie.”

The pink truck is dedicated to his mother-in-law who was diagnosed with cancer in February 2009. She is now cancer free and a survivor.

Baughman said joining the tour was truly inspirational and a great honor because of all the people he has met from city to city.

He visited 14 cities while on the tour for two weeks, with his last stop in Lee County.

“We are just driving the pink fire truck and telling all these stories,” Baughman said about all the signatures that cover the truck from so many individuals. “We are sharing their life and battle.”

He said the tour helps by raising funds that are kept in the communities it visits.

“It’s going to bring your community together and help your community,” Baughman said about the money the Pink Heals Tour generates.

The money raised during the block party Wednesday night will be donated to the American Cancer Society, along with individuals who are currently battling cancer.

He said he will be on the Pink Heals Tour every year, along with holding events and making personal home visits in High Point.

The Pink Heals Tour began in 2007 through the efforts of firefighter Dave Graybill from Glendale, AZ.

Four Cape Coral Fire Department fire trucks, with sirens blaring, escorted the pink Guardians of the Ribbon, Pink Heals Tour fire truck onto the Diplomat Elementary School campus Wednesday afternoon. The stop was to provide teachers, who are cancer survivors, with the opportunity to sign the pink truck. The tour made a stop at Diplomat Elementary School especially for Nancy Andrews, a music teacher of 16 years at the school.

Four Cape Coral Fire Department fire trucks, with sirens blaring, escorted the pink Guardians of the Ribbon, Pink Heals Tour fire truck onto the Diplomat Elementary School campus Wednesday afternoon. The stop was to provide teachers, who are cancer survivors, with the opportunity to sign the pink truck. The tour made a stop at Diplomat Elementary School especially for Nancy Andrews, a music teacher of 16 years at the school.