During the month of October, Laguna Beach Firefighters are showing their support for Cancer Prevention Month by wearing blue and pink T-shirts. The goal of this campaign is to bring awareness to cancer, not only for firefighters who are battling the disease, but also for family, friends and members of the community who have lost their battle or are currently battling this disease. The Laguna Beach Fire Department is proud to have participated in this annual awareness even since 2013.
“This is definitely a cause that hits home for us,” said Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia. “Within the last eight years, three retired members of the Laguna Beach Fire Department have been diagnosed with cancer. Two of them have lost their lives to the disease and one is actively fighting it. We do this to show our support for them.”
Cancer has caused 61 percent of career firefighter line-of-duty deaths from January 2002 to December 2016, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters, and cancer caused 70 percent of the line-of-duty deaths for career firefighters in 2016 alone. Firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer than the general U.S. population, and a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer.
The T-shirts worn by firefighters are available for purchase by the general public, with all proceeds going to the Firefighters Cancer Support Network, a nonprofit organization providing assistance and one-on-one mentoring to thousands of cancer-affected firefighters and their families. The Firefighters Cancer Support Network also delivers extensive firefighting cancer awareness and prevention training to departments nationwide.
“This is extremely important for all of us,” said Laguna Beach Engineer Firefighter Pat Cary. “We all have coworkers, family members or friends who are currently battling cancer or who have lost their lives to this disease. Each year during the month of October, our goal is to bring awareness to this disease and support to those who are currently battling it.”
T-shirts are available for purchase by the general public on the Laguna Beach Firefighters Association website at www.lagunabeachfirefighters.com. Shirts cost $20 plus $5 for shipping and handling. All proceeds go directly to the Firefighters Cancer Support Network.