Mike and Jennifer Baggett, Pro Automotive Services owners, are donating profits to the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Fund through October.

WOOD RIVER - Pro Automotive Services is offering free brake inspections and brake pads to raise money for a breast cancer vaccine.

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The Brakes for Breasts campaign encourages independent auto repair shops to provide free brake pads throughout October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Customers pay for the labor and any other parts that are needed, and the shops donate 10% of profits to the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Fund. For Pro Automotive Services in Wood River, the campaign hits close to home.

“My mom passed away from breast cancer. She’d been in remission 32 years, and then the cancer came back,” owner Jennifer Baggett said. “She had triple-negative breast cancer, and that’s what the vaccine that they’re working on right now [targets]. They’re hoping that once the puzzle is unlocked for this particular cancer, that it’ll be easier to unlock the rest of all the other different types of breast cancer and even ovarian cancer.”

Baggett owns Pro Automotive Services with her husband and serves as the operations manager. Baggett hopes their shop can contribute $2,000 by the end of the month. This is their second year participating in the Brakes for Breasts program, which has raised over $1.6 million since its beginning in 2011.

“They’re hoping this year to raise $200,000,” Baggett explained. “And you think about how many independent repair shops there are across the country, they don’t have that many people participating. In 2022 we only had 106 independent auto repairs participate, and we donated right at $200,000.”

The doctor who started the breast cancer vaccine research has noted that their work would not have made it this far without donations from Brakes for Breasts. As of October 2023, the vaccine is currently in human trials.

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“It gives us a lot of hope, because our family history [of breast cancer] is extremely strong,” Baggett said. “I’ve got one daughter and I’ve got a niece. It gives us hope that hopefully the vaccine will be there before one of us gets a diagnosis.”

Arlene Hall, Jennifer Baggett's motherShe added that it’s bittersweet in a lot of ways; her mother, Arlene Hall, would have been a good candidate for the human trials if the research had reached that point before her cancer came back.

Donations move the research along, Baggett said. She hopes that people will take advantage of the Brakes for Breasts campaign and stop by Pro Automotive Services, located at 1095 E. Edwardsville Road in Wood River, for free brake inspections and brake pads throughout October. But even if you don’t need brake pads or if you go to another repair shop, you can still donate at Pro Automotive Services or the official Brakes for Breasts website.

In addition to raising money, Baggett also wants to raise awareness. She encourages people to be proactive with screenings to catch breast cancer early. Her mother participated in Relay for Life, and Brakes for Breasts in Baggett’s way of honoring her mother and continuing her fight.

“I guess I’m just trying to help, so the next person doesn’t have to…” Baggett trailed off, then added, “For the future generation, if we don’t step up and do community service to raise awareness — I just feel like it’s just the right thing to do.”

For more information about the Brakes for Breasts campaign, visit BrakesForBreasts.com. Check out the Pro Automotive Service website at ProAutomotiveServices.com and their official Facebook page for details, and call them at 618-408-8801 to schedule your brake inspection and repair.

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