BINGHAMTON, NY – The Retired Professional Fire Fighters Cancer Fund is the Greater Binghamton Chamber Business of the Week.
The entirely volunteer non-profit raises money to support research into occupational cancers that affect firefighters.
It was founded in 2006 by retired Binghamton firefighter Bill Newland and his wife Tricia, a retired nurse.
Since 2010, the fund has raised and donated 313 thousand dollars to research institutions across the country and Canada such as Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, Roswell Park in Buffalo and the Wilmot Cancer Institute in Rochester.
Bill Newland says occupational cancers are caused by carcinogens released into the air from the burning of synthetic building materials and other plastic items.
“People think that because you wear turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatus, that you’re protected. The pores of your skin are never fully protected. The coat comes off, gets hung back up on the truck waiting for the next call, they’re in the air,” says Newland.
Newland says occupational cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for firefighters, comprising 62% of work-related deaths last year.
The fund raises its money through direct donations as well as its annual charity hockey game among local firefighters dubbed Battle of the Bravest.
This year’s event was scheduled for March 22nd but had to be postponed.
For more information, go to LetsFireCancer.org.