The head of the Phoenix Fire Department announced she has breast cancer and will be undergoing a double mastectomy as part of her treatment.
Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner revealed her diagnosis on social media Wednesday after discovering a lump several weeks ago. Her double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery is scheduled for Friday, and it’s unclear if she will need further treatment.
“Unfortunately the path is very familiar as we all know others who have fought cancer,” Kalkbrenner said. “Since being appointed Fire Chief I have lead this battle on behalf of the fire service. This diagnosis is only strengthening my resolve to eradicate the disease from being considered an eventual expectation of having this career.”
Kalkbrenner did not give a time frame for her recovery, and she said she would continue to run the department.
“In the interim, we are fortunate to have a bright, diverse executive staff and a supportive union,” she wrote. “I do not ask for your sympathy, what I need is your genuine support and to take care of our daily mission which is to serve the members of our community.”
Kalkbrenner has been with the Phoenix Fire Department since 1985. She was named chief in December 2014, and she was the first woman to hold that position with the department.