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Fueling Awareness

Agriculture.com Staff 07/06/2010 @ 5:18pm

A pink and white propane truck may be an eye-popping encounter along a rural road. But for farmers who live in central, southwest, or north-central Ohio, seeing is believing.

The trucks are visible reminders of a yearlong campaign by three cooperatives: Southwest Landmark in Xenia, Ohio; Heritage Cooperative in West Mansfield, Ohio; and Xenia-based United Landmark.

Launched on October 1, 2009, the co-ops are donating $1 for each delivery stop by any propane truck in their fleet to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus.

By late January, the co-ops had raised $20,000. Individuals can participate by purchasing bracelets and T-shirts at branch locations. All proceeds go to the fund (fuelingthecure.com).

"It's been awesome," says Thad Dixon, United Landmark branch manager, Lancaster. "When we talked about it, some wondered whether we could get drivers. Now they fight over the four pink trucks. They get lots of positive hugs, waves, and honks. They say it's a great experience."

Sadly, Stefanie Spielman, at age 42, lost her 12-year siege against breast cancer in November. She and her husband, Chris Spielman, a former Detroit Lions linebacker, were Ohio State University graduates.

Ten years ago, they created Stefanie's Champions, an annual event to honor cancer caregivers. Proceeds from the event also help patients with the costs of circulation pumps for lymphedema, compression garments, wigs, nutritional supplements, gas cards, and assistance with transportation. The Spielmans have helped raise more than $6.5 million.

Dixon says the local response is positive. "So many people know someone whose life has been affected by breast cancer," he says.

Here are some sobering statistics:

  • One in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women between age 35 and 55.
  • There is a 90% cure rate if it's detected in its earliest stages.

It's been a long, tough winter in Ohio. When spring finally arrives, the co-ops have plans under way to maintain the momentum. In Amanda, Ohio, 120 Little League baseball and softball players will be outfitted in pink T-shirts. "It'll be fun to see the reaction," Dixon says.

A pink and white propane truck may be an eye-popping encounter along a rural road. But for farmers who live in central, southwest, or north-central Ohio, seeing is believing.

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