SYCAMORE – Jessica travels all over the country collecting signatures from women who have battled the disease or have someone close to them who has suffered.
Jessica is not a person. She is a pink firetruck.
Steve Rusin, a firefighter who volunteers to drive the truck from McHenry with the Pink Heals organization, pointed out there are no breast cancer ribbons anywhere on the truck.
“We don’t honor a disease,” Rusin said. “We honor the women fighting a disease.”
Some of those women and many others flocked to the streets of downtown Sycamore for the city’s ninth annual Ladies Night Out fundraiser to raise awareness for cancer research.
One of the women who signed her name on the pink firetruck was Florence Mathison, a breast cancer survivor for 25 years, and the woman who inspired the event almost a decade ago.
Mathison’s daughter, Dawn Sukach, who owns D&D Jewelers with her husband, Don, wanted to raise money for cancer research to help find a cure.
What started as a small fundraiser turned into more than $65,000 for cancer research in less than 10 years. The funds raised at the June 6 event will go to Kishwaukee Community Hospital, The Cancer Center at Kishwaukee Community Hospital and the local American Cancer Society chapter.
Mathison said she is proud of what the event has accomplished and how much it has grown.
Cheri Cesaroni and her daughter, Brianna, have made the event a tradition. Not only is it fun but it’s also important to support the cause, Cesaroni said.
“You know what we’re all here for,” she said. “[We’re here] in hopes to find a cure.”
While a cure has yet to be found, Mathison said it’s still possible to beat the disease.
“You’ve got to be proactive,” she said. “You’ve got to be on it. If you can catch it in time, it’s not a death sentence. You can have a story like mine.”