Ahead of the 11th annual Turn Tyler Pink this Tuesday, the Tyler Professional Firefighters Association held a kickoff Friday to educate the public on the breast cancer awareness event.

Tyler firefighter Cancer Awareness & Relief Effort (CARE) shirts will be sold at Turn Tyler Pink on the square in downtown Tyler to raise money for local women’s cancer organizations.

The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday with food trucks, live entertainment, health resources and blood drives.

Tyler firefighter Scott Dodgen, CARE chairman and Turn Tyler Pink event coordinator, discussed the event’s mission during the Friday presentation at the Holiday Inn South Broadway.

Over the 11 years, $71,210 has been raised for local women’s cancer organizations, $22,300 for current and retired Tyler firefighters and their dependents battling cancer, and $2,300 for national firefighter cancer organizations, Dodgen said.

“To me … (cancer awareness) means a lot,” Dodgen said. “Every time we can donate something it’s always a joy.”

Dodgen has served as CARE coordinator for four years.

He said Turn Tyler Pink’s mission is to show the public, especially women, love and to help them find the resources available for battling cancer.

Three breast cancer survivors will speak during Tuesday’s event. Hospitality ER will also be there spray-painting kids’ and adults’ hair pink, Dodgen said.

Shellie Arnold, Holiday Inn South Broadway director of sales, called Turn Tyler Pink a good cause and said the hotel has been a sponsor since the beginning.

“It’s something we want to support and we also want to support our local fire department,” Arnold said.

CARE shirts are currently available for purchase at Carter BloodCare (815 S. Baxter Ave.), Cavender’s Boot City (2025 WSW Loop 323), Gallery Main Street (110 W. Erwin St.) and Holiday Inn (5701 S. Broadway Ave.).

Older shirts could be donated to families in need as well by contacting Turn Tyler Pink through its Facebook page, or email turntylerpink@yahoo.com. Those interested in donating to CARE can contact the organization through email or Facebook as well, Dodgen said.

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