TAMPA (FOX 13) - Tampa's top cop has taken on another battle, the fight against breast cancer.
Police Chief Eric Ward is one of the top fundraisers in the American Cancer Society's Real Men Wear Pink effort, and he has three very good reasons to be wearing a different looking badge these days.
The officer where Chief Ward and his team fight crime has turned into a cancer-fighting sea of pink this month. From the drapes to Ward's badge - pink is everywhere you turn.
They are fighting breast cancer by raising funds for The American Cancer Society's Real Men Wear Pink campaign.
"The idea I came up with, as far as raising funds to reach our goal, was to come up with a badge. I ran it by my officers, and they were excited about it," Chief Ward said.
Almost everyone has been touched by cancer. For Chief Ward, it was his wife's mother who showed him the struggle up-close.
"It was my mother-in-law. She had a fight with cancer. She beat it once. It came back. As a result, it took her life," he said.
Breast cancer didn't just take the chief's mother-in-law. It tried to take his executive aide, Ida Walker. She is now a two-time breast cancer survivor.
"I know real men, my husband was one, and they take on a lot when you are going through breast cancer," Walker said.
The chief's team, including Assistant Chief Brian Dugan, is stepping up to buy the pink badges.
"Back in the late 80s, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer," Assistant Chief Dugan said. "When I look at my fellow officers supporting breast cancer, there's no doubt in my mind; while not everyone knows what I'm going through right now, they would also support me, too."
Assistant Chief Dugan is in a cancer battle himself, just having his last day of work for awhile. He's on leave to recover from surgery related to prostate cancer. It's another reason the busy Chief Ward made taking up the fight against cancer a priority.
"Statistically, the sooner breast cancer is detected, the more likely a woman is going to survive. So, it's important we get word out, so people are aware of it," Ward explained.
So far, the chief has raised over $11,000, but he's still in second place in terms of top fund raising for the Bay Area. Chief Ward's donation page can be found at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?px=43863275&pg=personal&fr_id=78126.
For information on the Real Men Wear Pink program, visit http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=78126&pg=entry.