If you’re reading this, chances are that someone you know has faced a cancer diagnosis and the difficult battle that follows.
If you’re a firefighter, the chances are even greater because firefighters face a higher rate of cancer diagnosis than the average person.
It’s why our foundation is proud to have contributed $5,000 to support the important work of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. This incredible organization holds a special place in our hearts because of the help they offered to one of our own.
Our chief roaster and retired fire captain, David McWilliams, served in the fire service for 35 years. In 2018, he was diagnosed with advanced malignant melanoma. The Firefighter Cancer Support Network provided Dave with a mentor who could share their own experiences fighting cancer and be a shoulder for Dave to lean on.
The network also supported Dave with a “toolkit” care package of useful information and supplies to guide him through his journey of fighting cancer, a battle that we’re happy to say Dave is winning.
But it’s a battle that he will continue to fight, alongside countless other firefighters across the country and around the world. Research from the CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety shows that firefighters face a 9% higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer than the average person — and a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer.
Cancer caused 61 percent of the career firefighter line-of-duty deaths from January 1, 2002, to March 31, 2017, according to data from the International Association of Fire Fighters.
That’s why the Firefighter Cancer Support Network is so important. It’s now in its 15th year of fulfilling its mission to help fire/EMS members and their families cope with cancer and to provide occupational-cancer awareness and prevention training nationwide.
We are honored to stand beside them in this fight.