Our Story

Written by Founder Charles Goins:

 

I had been saying I would go to the new RUSH Fitness in High Point for a few months; one morning in 2011, while working at “Engine One” in downtown Winston-Salem, I decided to finally go check it out. I arrived at the gym wearing a WSFD (Winston-Salem Fire Department) t-shirt. I was approached by an older firefighter who asked if I was on the job; I told him yes. He then asked me if I was going to the PINK HEALS event in downtown High Point later that afternoon. I had no clue what he was talking about so I asked him what was Pink Heals.

 

At first, like a lot of people, I thought he meant (HEELS) and wondered how that had anything to do with me being a firefighter. He told me it was firefighters who had a pink firetruck and wore pink turnout gear and spread love and support across the country for women battling cancer. I had never been affected by cancer; no one in my family ever had it, and to my knowledge, none of my friends either, so I just overlooked the cause. However, the Pink firetruck resonated with me and I wanted to check it out.

 

I went back later that day and spoke with the Pink Heals Tour drivers, they explained the program to me. I, being in the people helping business, thought this would be a good way to volunteer and help out with the local chapter in High Point. I could not believe that I had never heard of this before. So for the next few months I assisted the local chapter and put in a request to join the tour and travel the country with them.

 

Once a year the National Chapter would gather firefighters from other chapters across the United States and members from other fire departments to tour the country spreading the word about Pink Heals. Unfortunately, the slots were filled for the rest of the 2011 tour and also for the 2012 tour….

 

The next year fate stepped in and someone dropped out of the tour, I was called and asked if I was still interested in touring. I said yes! June 2012 I boarded a plane for Phoenix, Arizona; the National Tour is based in Glendale, Arizona. I arrived and met Dave Graybill for the first time. He is the Founder of Pink Heals.

 

He set myself and four other guys up at his mothers house. She had an office building in her back yard which had been converted into a living area. The next morning we got up and set out through Arizona, making stops along the way headed to New Mexico and then into Colorado. We made at least 20 stops during this leg of the tour, I met a lot of interesting and wonderful people, most were cancer survivors and warriors.

 

We had a few stops in Colorado, but one stop in particular changed my life….

 

Now let me back track for a moment; Dave had been in my ear the whole tour, like a 6 foot 4 inch Jiminy Cricket, telling me I should start my own chapter in Winston-Salem. Well I had NEVER started anything in my life, and to be quite honest…. I didn’t want to. I was having too much fun being single with no responsibilities except taking care of MYSELF and my two sons, both of which were practically adults, and taking care of them was not very taxing.

 

Well that was until we rolled into La Junta Colorado…We set up our 5 pink firetrucks and brand new Pink Heals Tour bus in a park. We greeted and hugged cancer warriors and survivors and gave hope to them and their families. Then I noticed a group of women walking towards us. Some of them were bald and some had on hats and scarfs. This one woman approached me and we started a dialogue.

 

She told me she was a single mom with two kids, every morning she would get them up for breakfast, take them to school, and go to work. During her lunch break, she would go across the street from the very park where we were set up and have her chemotherapy treatments. She would then return to work, then pick up her two children before heading home for dinner and bedtime. The next morning she would repeat that whole exhausting schedule.

 

At that moment I felt very small, selfish and ashamed of myself and I started to cry. For a week and a half I had been on tour telling women, children and some men that I supported them and loved them, I had been giving out hugs freely and feeling good about myself. It also occurred to me just how far away from home I was, spreading this message, while there was no one at home supporting the women in MY community.

 

This woman’s story touched me and I felt something I had never felt before: An amazing determination to DO SOMETHING!

 

I found Dave and told him I was in, I would go back home and start a Pink Heals chapter. The only problems I had were: where would I get a fire truck to paint pink…and when I found a truck, who would I name it after? All Pink Heals vehicles are named after a woman who had battled cancer. I traveled home with all this in my head.

 

The next day, my first day back to work after my tour, I walked into the station and there was a board on the wall that wasn’t there when I left. On that board was a note that said: “Sofie is Cancer Free” and I thought this could be the name of the truck. I asked a few of the guys about the note and found out that Sofie was about eight years old and had been fighting Wilms Tumors since she was six.

 

I Facebook stalked her mom, Cindy Z., until she realized I was harmless and not a crazy person. She agreed to meet with me and I gave her the whole idea behind Pink Heals and informed her that I wanted to honor her daughter by dedicating a pink firetruck in her name. Cindy and Sofie loved the idea. Through Cindy, I met Whitney Ladd, a breast cancer warrior at the time, and dedicated the police car in her honor.

 

I set up a meeting with the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, Fire Chief and Police Chief. I showed them a YouTube video of the 2010 tour and let them know that this is what I wanted to do in our community. They all thought it was a great idea and the city donated a firetruck and police care to the organization. I sent off all the proper paperwork to have us established as a recognized Non Profit. On October 3rd, 2012 were were officially Guardians of the Ribbon Triad, North Carolina Chapter Inc.

 

We’ve since dropped “Guardians of the Ribbon” and function now as the “Triad Pink Heals”. This is proof that God puts us right where we need to be.

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