Chief Frank Root of the Avon Fire Department said that the game between the two departments have been going on for years – but just as a back yard picnic type of event. “This year I was approached by one of our Firefighters, John Gansor, he asked what I thought about the idea to play the game here at the All Pro Freight Stadium and I said that it was a fantastic idea. From there on it just snowballed and with the enormous cooperation from the management at the Crushers, the City of Avon and the community we were able to get where we are today. It’s truly been a team effort between the Firefighters, the Police, the Mayor, the Crushers and the team at the Breast Health Center.”
Chief Root prediction: Fire 29 Police 2
Mayor James A. Smith, who when asked to predict the winner of Sunday’s game paused for a moment before answering. “The real winner today, no matter what the scoreboard says, will be the Breast Health Center, Breast Cancer awareness and our community. This is such a wonderful event and to have the Police and Fire Departments working so closely on organizing this says something about the men and women who are working in our City.”
Mayor Smith also acknowledged the tremendous amount of work that the Crushers donated. “They made this all real – from printing real tickets through their box office, the sign outside and their entire staff here at the stadium. What an outstanding partner they are to this community, we are very fortunate to have them in Avon.”
Chief Paul Romond of the Avon Police Department said that his department is proud to participate in an event that benefits such a worthy cause. “Our people have come together and really worked hard in getting ready for today to make this as successful as possible. Any event like this will help not only in bringing in money but it helps raise awareness to Breast Cancer and that makes this all worth while.”
Chief Romond differed from Chief Root’s prediction saying that his team is ready both defensively and offensively so his prediction: Police 12 Fire 9
Firefighter John Gansor said that his wife has Breast Cancer and after seeing what women go through first hand, he wanted to do something. “This is all for the women. For their courage, for their strength, for their hope – it’s all for them. There are 100 pink ribbons around the park, there are ribbons painted on the pitchers mound, the bases are pink and we even have commemorative pink softballs for today’s game. It’s all for the women.”
Gansor said that he worked closely with the management of the Crushers in planning Sunday’s event. “In all my years, of all the organizations I have worked with – these guys are the best. They were a Godsend. It was always, what do you need John – whatever you need John. I can’t say enough about these guys.”
Gansor said that getting the word out about early detection was key to Sunday’s event. “Women must check themselves regularly. I cannot stress the importance of early detection. My wife was concerned when she did a self-examination so we made an appointment right away and went into see the Doctor. The interesting thing was that what she felt was not a problem but they discovered the Cancer in the other breast. But without her checking on her own, who knows where we would be right now so I really want women to know how important self-examinations are. I believe that any woman who does not is just playing a deadly game of Russian Roulette with their lives.”
Dr. Debra Pratt from the Moll Pavilion at Fairview Hospital echoed Gansor’s concerns about self-examinations. “It’s vital and I tell women that when you do self-exams it’s not just feeling for lumps – if you feel a change in your breast, lump or not, get it checked out. Mammograms are also very important. Mammograms will detect about 80% of our cancers and about 20% will be felt and not show up on our Mammograms and that’s why you really want to put the two together. When you actually look at the screening guidelines – the guidelines have Mammograms as well as an annual exam by a Physician as well as the self-examination. So all three together help us capture all of them.”
Dr. Pratt said that there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to women getting checked. “I think women are very busy caring for their families – that they don’t take enough time to take care of themselves.”
Seven women were honored Sunday by throwing out the first pitch – including Dr. Pratt and six cancer Survivors.
Katherine Brumfield 1 year Survivor
Marla Gansor 1 year Survivor
Debbie Klein 5 year Survivor
Delores Frederick 10 year Survivor
Barbara Gregg 8 year Survivor
Libby Miller 13 year Survivor
Umpires for the game were John Stafford, Jim Campo and Bob Decker. The Umpires mentioned that before the game certain players reminded them who writes traffic citations in the City of Avon.
Singing the National Anthem was Ciara Nishanian, 8th grader from Avon Middle School.
As each player was announced during the game they each had a nickname – here are a few examples. Half Amazing – Dingle – MOJO RISING – Mongo – Chubby Elvis – No Jokin’ – Quick Draw and the one that drew the most looks and laughs – Bananas in Pajamas.
Photos by TMC & BRIAN WOODS