On Sunday, firefighters from the Destin Fire Control District and other local first responders came together for the Destin Cares Enough to Wear Pink event held at HarborWalk Village. To show support and raise awareness for two women and families suffering the effects of cancer, more than 20 Destin area firemen and women pulled a 7,000-pound fire truck through the Village with their bare hands.
Money raised for the event was earmarked for two locals struggling with the disease during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Specifically, money raised from the event benefited Carolyn Hendrix, a 4-year-old from Pensacola who has two older brothers. Little Carolyn was diagnosed in June of 2013 with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Her treatment has required nine months of chemotherapy and extensive surgery.
The event also benefited Rita Lehman, a breast cancer survivor. Rita, who has lost two sisters to breast cancer, was diagnosed with the disease in 2006 at age 42. When her health improved over several years, she and her husband Jake thought they had won the battle. However, four months ago an emergency room visit for neck pain revealed her C2 vertebrae had been so eroded by a lesion that Rita was in imminent danger of internal decapitation. A biopsy revealed the lesion to be malignant. The prognosis with chemo and radiation is not optimistic, offering only some extension of life. Traditional treatments are not likely to cure her so she has begun looking into other alternative treatments.
The Pink Heals event was hosted by Mark Baugh, of the Destin firefighters. He is a survivor himself, being diagnosed in December of 2011 with myeloma. Since then he has survived and thrived.