Members of the Waxahachie fire and police departments are teaming up in the fight against cancer by working at Chiliís this week to raise funds for St. Jude Childrenís Research Hospital.

ďThis is all volunteer. No one is on duty and everyone has volunteered their time,Ē firefighter association vice president Josh Anderson said. ďThis is the third year that we have been involved with Chiliís. All of the guys are 100 percent behind it.

ďToday is our first day and we have been doing it about an hour,Ē he said. ďIt has started to pick up and get busy. People get behind it when you are talking about helping out kids. It is not hard for people to want to get involved and help out.Ē

Firefighters worked on Thursday during the lunch shift from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and during dinner from 4-7 p.m. They also will work from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 18 and a fire truck will be on display in front of the restaurant. All of the proceeds raised will go directly to benefit the hospital.

Chiliís also supports St. Jude through the Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign. Each year, guests are invited to create custom pepper designs and help the cause through individual donations. Through the Create-A-Pepper campaign, since 2006, Chiliís has raised $30 million for the hospital. According to Chiliís website, on Sept. 26, 100 percent of Chiliís net profits go to help St. Jude.

Chiliís assistant manager Cindy Regan said the restaurant has been involved with supporting the hospital for the past eight years. Through its involvement nationally, in 2007, Chiliís has been able to build the Chiliís Care Center, which stands seven stories high and covers 340,000 square feet. The center houses radiological sciences department, bone marrow transplant inpatient unit and several new research labs.

Anderson said firefighters will work alongside wait staff and will sell T-shirts and head bands to help raise funds. T-shirts that are colored are $15, black and white T-shirts are $12 and head bands are $5 each.

Working alongside the firefighters Thursday evening was Ethan Hallmark, a cancer survivor who has raised more than $1,500 on his own. Firefighters honored his fight against cancer by presenting him with the departmentís ďCares Enough to Wear PinkĒ cancer awareness shirt and making him an honorary member of the department for the evening.

St. Judeís is the first institution established for the sole purpose of conducting basic and clinical research and treatment into catastrophic childhood diseases, mainly cancer. On average, 5,700 active patients visit the hospital each year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis. Research and treatments developed by St. Jude has increased the survival rate for lymphoblastic leukemia from 4 percent to 94 percent since 1962. Research findings made at the hospital are shared freely with the global medical community.

St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of a familyís inability to pay.

The public can donate funds to the hospital through its website throughout the year at www.stjudemedicalcenter.org by clicking on its donate now link. Donations can be made at any Chiliís location through Sept. 28. For more information on Chiliís Create-A-Pepper campaign, go to www.chilis.com/EN/Pages/ourcommitment.aspx.

Chiliís is located at 998 W. U.S. Highway 287 Bypass in Waxahachie.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.