For the past three years, the Munster Fire Department has raised thousands of dollars for the Cancer Resource Centre through T-shirt sales.
“As part of the Munster Fire Department, we have the Munster Fire Association that is more of a social group, and as part of that group, we are always looking for opportunities to give back to the community,” Deputy Fire Chief Dave Strbjak said. “One of the things we do is fund raising for different organizations. Having the Cancer Resource Centre right here in Munster, we thought it should be one of the organizations we donate to.”
This year’s fundraiser took on an even deeper meaning. The 2022 shirts were designed as a tribute to Munster High School baseball coach Robert “Bob” Shinkan, who died of breast cancer on Feb. 24, 2022.
“Everyone equates breast cancer to women, but this year’s logo was that men could get it, too,” Strbjak said. “We decided to use that logo with a pink and blue design on the shirts.”
Strbjak, who brought the idea for the Cancer Resource Centre fundraiser to the fire association three years ago, said he was taken aback when a family member was diagnosed with breast cancer a year later.
“Ironically a year after our first Cancer Resource Centre fundraiser, (a family member) was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, so it was like a premonition to get involved and get our association involved,” he said. “We wanted to give support to cancer patients and help find a cure.”
The sale of the shirts netted more than $5,000 the first year, over $6,000 the second year, and $5,300 this past year. The 2023 shirt fundraiser will get underway on Aug. 1.
The department still has a handful of 2022 shirts left, Strbjak said. Any money raised from the remaining shirts will roll into the 2023 donation. Shirts can be purchased by calling the Munster Fire Department at 219-836-6960.
The department’s donation will be used to help bring education, encouragement and support to Northwest Indiana residents through the Cancer Resource Centre’s services.
“We are forever grateful for the generous donations we have received over the years from the Munster Fire Department,” said Anthony Andello, outreach manager for the Cancer Resource Centre. “Their commitment to helping us care for cancer patients and their loved ones is inspiring.”
For more information on the services provided by the Cancer Resource Centre, visit myccrf.com.
CUTLINE: From left, Cancer Resource Centre’s Tony Andello, Vita Ayala and Jennifer Sarkey pose with members of the Munster Fire Department, which donated more than $5,000 to the center.