MISSION OF HONOR AND HOPE
Code 3 for a Cure's Mission of Honor and Hope is a journey across America taken on a fire engine once a year (dependent on sponsorship) by a crew of firefighter cancer survivors. The purpose of the journey is to:
- Call attention to the exposure risks for firefighters and encourage early cancer screenings, use of protective equipment, and adherence to safety procedures among firefighters;
- Share our experiences and give hope, support, and encouragement to firefighters and others who are fighting their own personal battles with cancer; and
- Honor and remember firefighters who have lost their lives to cancer, because it was they who paved the way, through their service and sacrifice, to the safer equipment and procedures used by firefighters today.
On the Code 3 for a Cure fire engine there is an empty seat to signify the loss of a firefighter due to cancer. The C3FAC firefighter team carries with them a memorial fire bell throughout their journey, and they collect the names of their brother and sister firefighters who have succumbed to cancer. They place those names in a special compartment located at the base of the memorial fire bell. Upon completion of each Mission, a ceremony is performed to honor and remember those firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice because of cancer. The C3FAC Memorial Fire Bell is rung out once for each name called.
In addition to the Annual Mission of Honor and Hope, Code 3 for a Cure is on standby to grant the requests of terminally ill firefighters who want to ride on the C3FAC fire engine to visit with fellow firefighters throughout their geographic area and share their story in the hopes of saving a brother or sister firefighter from cancer.
The Mission Continues
The Mission of Honor and Hope first took place from June 13 to July 15, 2008, and marked the beginning of Code 3 for a Cure. What began as a one-time journey across the country has since developed into a national nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity. The Mission continues on as a tradition of C3FAC and as an important part of our program.
Thus far in its young history, Code 3 for a Cure has accomplished five Missions. In doing so, we have:
- traveled over 90,000 miles and visited more than 300 fire departments;
- shared our cancer survivor experiences and provided support and encouragement to firefighters battling cancer;
- encouraged early cancer screenings, use of protective equipment, and adherence to safety procedures among hundreds of firefighters;
- honored and remembered firefighters across the nation who have lost their lives to cancer by conducting memorial fire bell ceremonies at various locations throughout the United States; and
- called attention to the high rates of cancer among firefighters and encouraged early cancer screenings for them and for the general public through local news media outlets.