MONTROSE – If breast cancer has darkened your life or the life of a loved one, then you know the signs of fear and fatigue in a body under siege from cancer and from cancer-fighting drugs.
Efforts to support a "we can do it" motto for patients and their families got a boost recently, with the commitment, by the Black Canyon Jet Center at the Montrose Regional Airport, to monthly donations to Bosom Buddies of Southwestern Colorado, a breast cancer support group operating on the Western Slope.
In January the jet center bought a ground power unit (GPU) painted in the "perfect shade of pink" that gives jet airplanes a power source while on the ground (and a jump start when starting their engines). It costs $75 to use a GPU on every jet, and the jet center announced it will donate one-half of that fee to Bosom Buddies.
The local Bosom Buddies chapter is a 501©(3) nonprofit volunteer organization that has, since its creation in 1998, helped 1,500 families, providing $250,000 in support to those living in the communities of southwestern Colorado who have been affected by the disease.
"We can do it, and Bosom Buddies does it with the help from an amazing community,” said Bosom Buddies President Francie Smiles at a ceremony celebrating the donation at Montrose Regional Airport last week. “No family is without,” she said, when it comes to help from Bosom Buddies while dealing with the ravages of breast cancer. “This is who we are, we can do it, and we do it every single day.”
BCJC General Manager Ken Watson, whose grandmother passed away from the disease and whose mother-in-law and sister are both breast cancer survivors, said it he realized recently that “we don’t know anybody who hasn’t been affected by breast cancer,” and to reflect that “gosh, it would be nice to reach out,” adding that “we don't know anybody who hasn't be affected by breast cancer."
Watson said that to date, the jet center has donated about $4,000 to Bosom Buddies.
"It's something we believe can really set a tone with our customers, that we really take seriously our public and private partnerships here. People here don't regularly have a opportunity to experience our brand, because a lot of people can't afford to fly private.
“Any chance we get an opportunity to do something for the community and give back, we take very seriously," Watson said.
Smiles said the BCJC donation will help pay for mammograms, ultra-sound screenings and radiology readings, as well as help women meet deductibles for treatments, surgeries, therapy and medication (in partnership with the San Juan Cancer Center) not covered by insurance.
Donations to Bosom Buddies also help provide awareness, early detection and “after-the-diagnosis” assistance for those affected by the disease; the organization also hosts weekly support groups and awards scholarships to children of women who have been diagnosed, selling hats, scarves, wigs, bras and prostheses to provide financial assistance for counseling services, as well as offers financial assistance to children who have lost a parent to cancer.
The maker of the GPU is Aero Specialties Inc., whose President Matt Sheehan pronounced the firm “delighted to be involved with Black Canyon Jet Center in the ‘Pink JetGo’ breast cancer awareness program.
“Black Canyon’s innovative approach to bring awareness and provide funding for this great cause is an excellent example of how the aviation community can have a broader impact in those around us,” he said, adding, “We love thinking ‘Pink’ here at AERO.”
Black Canyon Jet Center, a Phillips 66 Aviation brand dealer that manages the fixed-base operations for general aviation at the Montrose Regional Airport, was recognized as one of the top FBO’s in the country in 2010 by Aviation International News. For more information, visit blackcanyonjet.com. For more information about Bosom Buddies visit bosombuddiesswc.org.