WYOMING, Mich. — Firefighters are often the first to respond and last to leave an emergency call they receive, but now they need your help.
A benefit to assist firefighters diagnosed with cancer is being held in Wyoming this coming May. A majority of the money raised before and during the dinner will go to firefighters fighting cancer and their families. The remaining money will go out to Neighbors United, who helps other firefighters fighting the ultimate fight.
Recent studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found firefighters are at a much greater risk to be diagnosed with cancer than the general public. They also see more cancer-related deaths.
The man behind the benefit dinner is Robert Goss. His father, a 35-year veteran of the city of Wyoming, was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer a few years ago. Other firefighters he grew up around and have come to know over the years have also been diagnosed with cancer, so he knew he couldn't sit idly by and do nothing.
"I grew up different than everyone else." says Goss. "My dad was a firefighter. Everyone said he was a hero to them. My dad always told me it takes a very certain mindset and heart to be a firefighter. I grew up at Station 4 in Wyoming. They are my uncles, my brothers and my sisters."
Robert also wants to bring awareness to why firefighters are at such a high risk. It stems mainly from the chemicals in building material that gets onto firefighters during structure fires. That material seeps into their skin and leads to the higher risk of developing cancer.
Fire stations around the country are doing better with having extra sets of gear for firefighters to change into after fight a blaze and also industrial washers to get the chemicals out. Even though steps have been taken to reduce the risk, the fight is far from over.
The spaghetti dinner, 50/50 raffle and silent auction will all take place on May 2nd from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Wyoming Police F.O.P Hall. The cost will be $10 for adults and $6 for children 10 and under.
Robert has also set up a GoFundMe Page in honor of his dad and every firefighter battling cancer. You can also make a donation or ask any questions by emailing Robert directly at firstname.lastname@example.org