Phoenix Suns Charities’ donation leads to antibody testing for first responders

Apr 22, 2020, 5:38 PM | Updated: 7:15 pm
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Fire Department)...
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Fire Department)
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Fire Department)

PHOENIX — Starting next week, Phoenix first responders will have COVID-19 antibody tests available following a donation from Phoenix Suns Charities.

The United Phoenix Firefighters Association and the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association announced the antibody testing for their members after the Phoenix Suns Charities donated $40,000.

“Antibody testing is something our members have expressed a very strong desire to have,” PJ Dean with the United Phoenix Firefighters Association told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

“Obviously being on the front lines of this pandemic, they have a unique exposure.”

The tests will be conducted by a doctor who is no stranger to first responders.

Doctor Vershalee Shukla owns and operates Scottsdale-based Vincere Cancer Center. Shukla has been screening first responders for occupational cancer for more than two years.

Now, she is dedicated to help while first responders who are not only exposed to carcinogens, but also coronavirus.

“They take a lot of high-risk calls and I think this test will be able to help manage staff and give them a little peace of mind,” Shukla said.

The tests will be voluntary and private for any Phoenix first responder.

However, the gross data will be collected to know how many members were tested and what outcomes were.

“This information is for our own members’ personal information and it’s not going to be shared,” Dean said. “Their own status of being negative or positive for antibodies is a matter of their own personal business.”

The tests are said to be a resource for the members themselves, ensuring no changes will occur in operations for Phoenix firefighters and police officers.

“We understand how important our first responders are to our entire community and we heard their anxieties and uncertainties during this pandemic and we wanted to help,” Sarah Krahenbul, executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities, said.

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Phoenix Suns Charities’ donation leads to antibody testing for first responders