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SFFR And Avera Win Two National Awards

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Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center have been recognized nationally for their programs on cancer awareness.

“People think of firefighters as heroes, but the real heroes are the cancer survivors,” said Chief Jim Sideras of Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

The fire department and hospital have been working together for the last two years to promote cancer awareness.

“Where fire fighters knew what they got into when they took the job, these cancer survivors had something much greater than themselves thrust on them and they are dealing with it everyday and that's what makes this a real unique and special bond between the firefighters and Avera,” said Sideras. 

Now those efforts are being recognized on a national level. The Cancer Awareness Advertising Award Programs awarded the duo with a Gold Award for their 'Bravest Wear Pink' bus.

The pink bus features both cancer survivors and firefighters and travels it's way through Sioux Falls everyday.

“It's very eye catching and you can see it from blocks away!" said Jill Shultz, Director of Breast Health at Avera McKennan Hospital. 

The bus acts as a moving billboard that serves as a daily reminder to get checked for breast cancer and encourages prevention efforts.

“It’s definitely been realized and has been a positive campaign for many, many people,” said Shultz.
For the fire fighters, the partnership has been a rewarding process.

“Not only do we go out when people are sick and injured, but if we can go out there and promote it on good days as well as bad it sort of benefits everybody,” said Ryan Limesand, Fire Apparatus Operator for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

The fire department also won a Silver Award for their 'Real Heroes Fight Program,’ which features fire fighters and cancer survivors working together in the support of fighting cancer.

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