ANNUAL MISSION OF HONOR AND HOPE
The Code 3 for a Cure Foundation's Mission of Honor and Hope is a journey taken on a fire engine once a year by a crew of cancer surviving firefighters. The purpose of the journey is to:
1. Honor and remember firefighters (active or retired) who have lost their lives to cancer, because it was they who paved the way, through their service and sacrifice, to the safer equipment and procedures used by firefighters today.
2. Bring attention to the prevalence of firefighting related cancers and encourage early cancer screenings and use of protective equipment. (Since there is no known cure for cancer, the most effective weapon against it right now is finding it at its weakest point.)
3. Share our experiences and give hope, support, and encouragement to firefighters and others who are fighting their own personal battles with cancer.
On the Code 3 fire engine there is an empty seat with the American and Canadian flags draped over it to signify the loss of a firefighter due to cancer. The firefighters carry with them a memorial fire bell throughout their journey, and they collect the names of their brother and sister firefighters who succumbed to cancer. They place those names in a special compartment located at the base of the memorial fire bell. Upon the completion of each Mission, they read off all the names of firefighters that they collected throughout the journey at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum Station 27. Throughout the Mission, they share their own personal cancer experiences and encourage firefighters and the general public to undergo early cancer screenings.
The 2011 Mission was extremely difficult for our Firefighter/Cancer Survivor team. We were hit hard and saddened by the loss of our brother, Kevin Oldham, who joined our team during the 2010 and 2011 Missions. Kevin was an incredible inspiration to us all and, despite his pain from pancreatic cancer, he showed amazing courage throughout the journey and touched the lives of many firefighters throughout the country. Kevin's spirit and his eternal message of honor and hope will forever be carried with us on each journey. Kevin leaves behind his wife Katie and his two daughters, Stella and Evelyn. See Kevin's eternal message on YouTube.
The Mission of Honor and Hope first took place from June 13 to July 15, 2008, and marked the beginning of Code 3 for a Cure. What began as a one-time journey across the country has since developed into a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity. The Annual Mission continues on as a tradition of the Foundation.