Last fall, members of the Highland Fire Department EMS IAFF Local 3672 union began brainstorming a campaign to sell T-shirts in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Before placing an order for the shirts, the members agreed that all proceeds from the fundraiser would be donated to a person within their ambulance district who had fought or was currently fighting the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Breast cancer will affect one in eight women in her lifetime.
More than 150 shirts were sold, with the help of advertising through fliers and social media. After obtaining some local names and information, the union voted to donate the proceeds to Monica Hunsdorf. On Feb. 3, they officially presented their donation.
Hunsdorf, a resident of St. Jacob, was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in December 2014. Her treatment thus far has included the removal of a tumor and lymph node, radiation, hysterectomy, and chemotherapy pills. She is currently having regular mammograms to monitor for any reoccurrence, continuing with chemotherapy pills, and taking supplemental vitamins to support her immune system.
“I know I may never feel normal, and I’m okay with this, just as long as I am here with my son and able to watch him grow up,” Hunsdorf said.
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She is especially thankful for the support of her husband, James. While he has done so much to stay by her side, he’s also been the family’s financial support.
“When you have cancer, nothing stops; especially bills,” Hunsdorf said. “I know he has wanted to be by my side more but he has work and takes the overtime when it’s available. We haven’t asked for much from others, just prayers and a few meals after surgery.”
When reflecting back on finding out she would be the recipient of the union’s fundraiser, she said: “When we found out we were the chosen family for the donation, we were beyond blessed. My words could never express the true love we felt that day being with all of you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
Highland Fire Department EMS IAFF Local 3672 is comprised of 16 full-time emergency medical technicians, 12 being paramedics. During October, on-duty personnel wore the pink shirts to further show their support of those afflicted by breast cancer. Highland EMS provides ambulance service to the city of Highland, as well as the Highland-Pierron, Marine, St. Jacob, Grantfork, and St. Rose fire districts.