HANOVER TWP. — It’s hard to miss a pink ambulance driving down the road, which is why Medic 9 changed the color of its ambulance for a month to raise money for two local cancer patients.
Whether the medics are out on a call, parked in front of the ambulance house or in a McDonald’s parking lot eating lunch, donors are apt to put up a few dollars to sign the fluorescent pink-covered ambulances. The money goes to offset treatment costs and related expenses for Genna Kundratic, an emergency room nurse from Wilkes-Barre, and Juliana Ziomkowski, a 6-year-old diagnosed with leukemia, from Sugar Notch.
At the beginning of October, ambulance and firetruck wrappers from the company Creative Signworks in Lancaster donated time to wrap the lower halves of the association’s three ambulances in pink. Hundreds of signatures grace the trucks. and Chief Paramedic Chris Woolfolk said they’ve raised about $3,500 so far through walk-up donations and T shirt sales.
“We’d like to triple that and get past that $10,000 mark,” Woolfolk said.
The ambulance workers will keep the trucks pink and accept donations for the rest of October, which is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Woolfolk said they wanted to help Ziomkowski because they were moved by her story and wanted to help a cancer patient who lives in their coverage area. Kundratic is close friend of the Hanover paramedics, one with whom they have worked closely for almost 20 years.
Kundratic, 45, most recently worked in the emergency room at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton.
Previously, she had worked at Geisinger Wyoming Valley and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Woolfolk said they consider her part of their family. Kundratic was in the General Hospital emergency room when many of the Hanover ambulance workers were earning their stripes.
She volunteered her support to the crew and helped them learn the ropes as they worked through paramedic training.
“I seemed to have became the point person,” Kundratic said.
She offered feedback to the emergency workers. She told them, “You’re the person in the field bringing me a patient. I want to know that they’re in the best possible hands.”
Kundratic was diagnosed with stage-4 breast cancer in 2006. She worked until last year when frequent dizzy spells made her take what she calls a “sabbatical.” She said she feels honored the medics are running the fundraiser for her.
“To know that they think enough me as a nurse and enough of me as a friend … that I’ve changed their careers and helped them do their jobs better, that is priceless to me,” Kundratic said.
Kundratic does not sound like one who has battled cancer for the last seven years.
“I’ve got a lot to do yet,” Kundratic said. “You won’t see anyone wearing black for me anytime soon.”