READING, Pa. — One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to statistics.

"It's horrifying," said Vanessa Collins. "I was diagnosed at 32."

Collins was one of those women. Now, she's a five-year survivor of Stage 4 breast cancer and an employee of West Reading-based Breast Cancer Support Services.

"We offer different support programs no matter what part of your journey you're in," Collins said.

Reading police Sgt. Darrin Dougherty said, for the first time this year, the police department is holding a breast cancer fundraiser.

"What started off as officers wearing pink badges to try and raise money for a group turned into, 'Hey, what about a patch for the public?'" Dougherty said.

All month, the RPD has been selling pink badges and shoulder patches for officers and pink patches for the community.

Dougherty said the department wanted to make sure the money it raises through the sale of the patches stays in Berks County. So far, the campaign has raised almost $8,500.

"There was no cost to the city for the patches," Dougherty said. "They were fully donated, so everything we raised was an entire donation to Breast Cancer Support Services."

Dougherty's family has been touched by breast cancer. His aunt is a two-time survivor; his mother-in-law and sister-in-law have also battled the illness. He said it's also about raising awareness about the support services available to those affected by the disease.

"Getting that advocacy out for the group, letting people know Breast Cancer Support Services are here," Dougherty said. "This is what they're about."

"It's really just knowing that we're here," Collins added. "There's other survivors to support you."

To purchase a pink patch for a donation of $20, you can contact the Reading Police Department by calling the traffic office in city hall at 610-655-6294 or by emailing trafficlawenforcementunit@readingpa.gov.

The patches can also be ordered online for home delivery.

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