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Real men drive pink trucks

Bryan and Carolyn Shunk of Peyton wanted everyone to know that breast cancer kills. Theyíre getting the message out in a big way with a white and pink propane delivery truck bearing the American Breast Cancer Foundationís logo. The Shunks own Apollo Propane, and their delivery truck also sports the ABCF tag line: Early detection is the key to life.Carolyn Shunkís mother, Edith Costa, died of breast cancer last May. ìMy mom had a mammogram six months before she was diagnosed with a fast growing, invasive adenocarcinoma,î Shunk said. ìThe doctors think it grew in just four months. If she had done self-examinations regularly, we think she would have caught it sooner. She was 79 when she was diagnosed and 80 when she passed away. She fought the cancer for 13 months.îThere was no history of cancer in their family, and Shunkís mother was active and healthy, she said. Costa underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy, but the cancer had metastasized and spread to her brain.After she was diagnosed, Costaís wish was to live long enough to celebrate her youngest grandchildís first birthday. She made it because of a strong will, Shunk said.Costa was from Germany. ìMy dad met my mom when he served in World War II. She was 21 years old when they married and moved to the United States,î Shunk said. They lived in Pueblo and Costa became a U.S. citizen. When her mom died she had been a widow for 20 years, Shunk said.Shortly after Costa died, the Shunks were visiting a trade show in Reno, Nev., where they discovered a truck bearing the ABCF logo. They brought that idea home and purchased another truck ñ one that would spread the message about breast cancer prevention.They contacted Jarco, a company that builds propane trucks, and ordered the new truck with its distinctive white and pink colors, the ABCF logo and an inscription honoring Costa: ìIn Memory of Edith Costa.îJarco representative Jason Soulon said his company began working with the ABCF about two years ago. ìThe customer, such as Apollo Propane, signs a contract with the ABCF to donate a portion of their proceeds to the foundation in exchange for using the ABCF logo,î Soulon said. ìWeíre donating one cent for every gallon we sell,î Bryan Shunk said. ìThat will total several thousand dollars this year.îThe vendors who supply parts for building the truck also make donations to the ABCF. ìApollo Propaneís truck generated about ,000 in donations,î Soulon said.The State Bank in Falcon also donated money toward the purchase of the truck, which also displays the State Bank logo. ìIt was a great idea and a really awesome cause,î said State Bank representative Christel Blaylock. ìAt the time, I had just lost a close friend to cancer.îThe Shunks said they try to get the message out that ABCF provides financial assistance to eligible applicants for breast cancer screening and diagnostic services.According to the ABCF Web site, more than 70 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women who have no identifiable risk factors; however age, a family history of breast cancer in close relatives, prolonged use of hormone replacement therapy and a long menstrual life increase the risks.On Nov. 13, 2006, the Archives of Internal Medicine published the results of the Nurseís Health Study II, led by doctors at Harvard Medical School. The study found that greater intake of red meat is related to elevated risks of breast cancers that are fueled by estrogen or progesterone ó the most common type of breast cancer.Although the big, pink and white truck is in memory of Edit Costa, Bryan Shunk said men need to be reminded that they are not immune to breast cancer.ìEvery year, 1,700 men get breast cancer,î Shunk said.Their message is for everyone.For information on the ABCFís programs for the uninsured and underinsured, see for more information on the Nurseís Health Study II.

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