Chris Hanclosky // The Post and Courier

Pink firetrucks make a stop in North Charleston as part of the Pink Heals 2011 Tour to draw attention to the fight against women’s cancers.

The idea of a pink firetruck threw off North Charleston Fire Chief Greg Bulanow.

"There's that shock value to it that helps create awareness," he said. "It's not what people expect."

Four firetrucks, all painted candy-store pink, stopped by Park Circle on Tuesday to help raise awareness for all types of women's cancers.

The trucks are part of the Pink Heals 2011 Tour and pinkfiretrucks.org, a nonprofit group launched by firefighter Dave Graybill of Glendale, Ariz. Members spend several months a year traveling the country using the trucks as anti-cancer attention-grabbers.

"We only go as far as a T-shirt will go," Graybill said of the their most-common fundraising tool as they hit 85 towns in three months.

Graybill began the effort in 2007 mainly as a way to honor women and publicize the specific cancers that affect them. And while October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Graybill's effort is aimed at empowering communities to raise funds and contribute to all sorts of other local cancer needs and programs.

To help illustrate their mileage, Graybill's trucks are adorned with hundreds of signatures of people from across the country who support his cause. One person who came to see the trucks Tuesday was Sara Egner, 31, of Summerville, a breast cancer survivor. "For women's causes, I think it's a great thing," she said of the pink truck tour organized by a profession that's dominated by men.

North Charleston also will have a pink firetruck of its own soon. Mayor Keith Summey has said that when another city truck goes offline or becomes obsolete, he wants to paint it pink and use it as an awareness tool in parades and other community events.

One North Charleston firefighter said he saw nothing wrong with a pink truck if its message is about prevention and getting tested. "It doesn't matter the color; a firetruck is a firetruck," fireman John Connell said. "I know it's for a good cause."