Firefighters shave their heads to support a manager (Gallery)

Patty Brookins shaves the head of Capt. Brian Burch as Central Arizona Fire & Medical firefighters shave their heads to support their Human Resources Manager Brookins Saturday, March 18 in Prescott Valley.

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Patty Brookins shaves the head of Capt. Brian Burch as Central Arizona Fire & Medical firefighters shave their heads to support their Human Resources Manager Brookins Saturday, March 18 in Prescott Valley.

Cancer is a bad, bad thing that no one ever wants to get. For Patty Brookins, the cancer came on fast and furious but through that came the outpouring of love and support from the Central Arizona Fire & Medical family.

Brookins, the human resources manager for CAFMA, went in for her regular mammogram on Dec. 23 after putting it off while caring for her mother who died on Dec. 1. At first the medical personnel thought it looked normal so Brookins went on vacation. Then on Dec. 30, while on vacation, Brookins received the call that none of us ever wants to take.

“There was a shadow that we’d like to take a closer look at,” they said. On Jan. 16, Brookins was diagnosed with Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, breast cancer.

Brookins’ Oncologist Dr. Brendan Curley and Breast surgeon Dr. Summer Gunia agree “It’s a curable but aggressive breast cancer. We are taking a multi-disciplinary approach to her care and have been collaborating since the beginning.”

On March 1 Brookins began chemotherapy that will last for 20 weeks. Then she will undergo surgery followed by a radiation treatment session.

That brings us to this past Saturday at the Central Arizona Regional Training Academy in Prescott Valley.

More than 30 CAFMA firefighters came from their homes, their stations or their offices to support Brookins and get their heads shaved. Brookins and her husband Bill also had their own heads shaved and helped stylists from the Bella Luna Salon to cut the firefighters’ hair.

“I want to raise awareness for getting a regular screening, I already have two friends who had been putting off theirs and now have gone and gotten their mammogram” Brookins said.

As we move about our day and we watch firefighters make runs to accidents, fires and medical calls and you see they all look similar with shaved heads, remember they did it out of love and support for a fellow worker who’s in for quite a fight of her own.