The Bellingham Police Department (BPD) is joining the community in recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness in October. Police Chief Rebecca Mertzig authorized the wearing of pink patches and badges for October. In addition, this year BPD is unveiling a pink patrol car, which patrol officers will drive on their shifts in an effort to help spread the word that early cancer screening saves lives and much more funding for all cancers is needed. The car has a QR code on it which allows for a direct donation to be made to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center. BPD employees are proud to take part in helping increase awareness to get screened early and help raise funds as cancer has affected many in the community as well as several BPD families.
Eric and Tiffany Kingery, are just such a BPD family. Eric, a BPD Crime Scene Investigator (CSI,) and Tiffany were told in February of 2020 she was diagnosed with a Stage 2 very aggressive form of breast cancer. Tiffany was only 32 years old at the time. She received three different types of grueling chemotherapy over the course of six months and underwent a bilateral mastectomy to reduce her chances of recurrence. She is halfway to her “5-year cancer-versary” with no current evidence of disease.
Tiffany and Eric were thrilled to see the pink patrol car and the message it will be sending throughout the community for the next month. It is because of a routine breast self-exam her cancer was detected early and did not spread. Tiffany knows firsthand that scientists do not know much about her type of cancer and much funding is needed to change that, just as with many other types of cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates about 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States. Approximately 43,250 women and 530 men will die from breast cancer this year. One in eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime and due to advancements in treatment, the survival rate is 99% , but only if caught early.
BPD officers are proudly wearing pink patches and pink badges to stand with those who are currently fighting cancer. Officers are driving the pink car in October to be a critically important and visible reminder to get screened early for all types of cancers and to donate for research and cures.