• Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

By Cathy Ritter,


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each October the American Cancer Society enlists the help of men in their respective communities to spread awareness about breast cancer, the second leading cancer-related death in the U.S.

Cincinnati Fire Chief Michael Washington and Police Captain Steve Saunders are joining a team of prominent men in the Cincinnati area who will serve as ambassadors through the American Cancer Society’s annual “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign presented by TriHealth. More than two dozen local business and community leaders have pledged to be a part of the campaign.  

Throughout October, Real Men Wear Pink ambassadors will encourage community members to act in the fight against breast cancer, as well as raise funds to help the American Cancer Society.

“As the founding chair for the Cincinnati Real Men Wear Pink campaign, I couldn’t be more excited to welcome back our Cincinnati Fire Division and Cincinnati Police Department to our Real Men Wear Pink team”, said Jeanette Altenau, Director of Community Relations and Government Affairs for TriHealth and the Chair of the American Cancer Society Cincinnati Real Men Wear Pink campaign.

“This year, more than ever before, it’s critical that we remind our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to catch up on all cancer screenings that were missed during the pandemic. We know that these delayed screenings are causing cancers to be detected much later than they were prior to 2019, causing the cancer to be more advanced and more difficult to treat. Having first responders for our community step forward from fire houses and police stations across our neighborhoods to lead this critical messaging and to remind ALL OF US to schedule all cancer screenings TODAY is critical to our being able to identify cancer cases earlier and change outcomes for survivors and their families. I am so very grateful for Chief Washington, Acting Chief Theetge and Captain Saunders, and all first responders across our community who will wear pink in October to remind all of us to protect those we love and schedule our screenings.”

In support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Cincinnati Police Officers may wear pink CPD badges and patches on their uniforms. They can also wear a CPD Breast Cancer Awareness ballcap in lieu of their uniform hat throughout the month of October. The Police Department will be hosting a “Break for Breakfast” fundraising event that features pink pancakes as well as selling T-shirts. 

“Everyone knows someone who has had to hear the horrific words, “you have cancer.” The Cincinnati Police Department is currently standing behind and supporting a few of our own who have been diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge.

“Breast cancer has impacted my family, our friends, and my co-workers. I am honored to be a Real Men Wear Pink ambassador this year to create awareness to fighting this disease and to help raise funds to bring an end to breast cancer once and for all” said Police Captain Steve Saunders.

The Cincinnati Fire Department worked with Fire Fighters Union Local 48 to design a breast cancer awareness shirt that may be worn on duty during the month of October. Proceeds from shirt sales will be donated to Chief Washington’s fundraising campaign. Cincinnati Firefighters may also wear a CFD Breast Cancer Awareness ballcap in lieu of their uniform hat in October.

“Knowing that firefighters are at an increased risk for many forms of cancer, it’s important to me to spread awareness about the importance of scheduling cancer screenings”, said Fire Chief Michael Washington. “I want our firefighters and all the Cincinnatians we serve to lead long and healthy lives.”

Since the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign began in 2016, Cincinnati’s campaign has raised more than $1.2 million for cancer patients and their families in our community.