MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP – The Mad River Township Clark County Sheriff’s deputy’s cruiser is sporting pink graphics to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Mad River Township Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Wise unveiled the newly designed 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 27 before he took its message to the streets as he patrolled around the township. The traditional black and yellow graphics on the cruiser, including the sheriff’s department shield, have been replaced with pink decals and “Find the Cure” ribbons in support of those individuals who are impacted by the disease.
“The decals are a standard sheriff’s package only in pink, and we just added a pink ribbon in the rear corner panels of the vehicle,” Wise said.
Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly paid a visit to the township Sunday morning to catch a glance of the pink-clad vehicle. The new graphic design will be displayed throughout October. But Mad River Township will not be the only local agency to recognize the cause because beginning Oct. 1, all Clark County Sheriff’s deputies will sport pink badges on their uniforms in support of the annual campaign.
Wise, who is a strong advocate of breast cancer awareness, said he originally made contact with Clark County Chief Deputy Doyle Wright about the idea earlier this year and spoke to Sheriff Kelly and the Mad River Township Trustees in August to obtain permission to pursue with his plan. Wise then contacted township area businesses who generously donated the funds to purchase the pink decals from Danco Lettering in Beavercreek, and a county employee, Mike Cleelan, donated his time and services to wrapped the township deputy’s cruiser.
“Breast cancer awareness is a cause that is very close to my heart,” Wise said. “It has affected so many people all over the country and continues to affect more people on a daily basis. So many other agencies across the country have marked their vehicles for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I felt the sheriff’s department vehicle would be a great way to display a positive image for our agency.”
The township deputy said he learned first hand about the serious impact breast cancer has on its victims and their families. In 2007, his wife’s niece, Shannon, was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 35 after she found a lump during a monthly self-exam.
“Because she was so young and had no family history of breast cancer, Shannon had to be very aggressive to obtain the tests needed to diagnose the disease,” Wise said. “By the time it was diagnosed, the cancer had spread to many of her lymph nodes. She had to have a bilateral mastectomy, several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.”
In October 2013, Shannon lost her battle to the disease at the age of 42, leaving behind a 14-year-old son, her parents and other family members.
In May of 2014, Wise’s wife, Susie, found a lump during a routine self-exam. After a series of tests were completed, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2014 and underwent a lumpectomy to remove the mass. However, a month later, the couple learned that the type of cancer Susie had was very aggressive and has a tendency to spread to the other breast within five years.
“My wife started the first round of chemotherapy in August of 2014. Once she had completed the rounds of chemotherapy, she had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction in March 2015,” Wise said. “After her surgery, we learned that she did not have to receive any radiation treatments. In August, we got the great news that my wife is classified as 100 percent disease free.”
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation website, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. However, regular screenings, including mammograms, can help detect breast cancer at an early stage when there is the best chance to treat the disease successfully. The October initiative is intended to encourage women to conduct breast exams regularly and visit their doctors for annual check-ups.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.