MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Firefighters and their supporters stood up and spoke out Thursday in the fight against cancer-exposing potential links to their jobs.READ MORE: Amber Alert Issued for 9-Year-Old Aniya Arcia
“At Miami-Dade Fire Rescue for example 17 percent of our cancer deaths are brain cancer,” said Keith Tyson, President of the Florida chapter of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.
“Unfortunately, because of what they do and what they are exposed to, the cancer rate among firefighters in this country is alarmingly high,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.
Meantime, courageous battles have been shared by those in the thick of the fight.
“In December of last year I was diagnosed with stomach cancer Stage 4 which had spread,” said 33-year old Fernando Ordonez. “I am currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment.”
CBS4’s Michele Gillen has been documenting Julius Perez’s journey for more than a year.READ MORE: Pedestrian Killed While Crossing I-75
Gillen said,“The public often calls us and asks about you. You are a rock. How are you doing?”
“I am doing pretty good since the last interview that we had,” said Perez. “They found another tumor on the surface of my head. I had to receive ten treatments of radiation. The side effects are going away. You can see on the top of my head.”
Science and research shared in a CBS4 exclusive report highlighted their hoods and potential dangerous exposures for firefighters.
“Michele Gillen talked about that early. The fact that our hoods, contamination may be seeping through our hoods,” said Tyson.
More than 30 thousand dollars were donated Thursday by firefighters from Miami , Miami-Dade and Broward to efforts for research, family assistance and campaigns to best protect the men and women in the field and directed to the Firefighter Support Network, the Susan G. Komen Miami and Fort Lauderdale affiliate and the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center.
This represents a sea of change in thought. The focus now is to keep potential carcinogens and risks far away from the men and women who risk their lives every day for us.MORE NEWS: Goodwill Ambassador Volunteers Get Specialized Training Ahead Of Miami Beach's Busy Holiday Weekend