MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill Tuesday that will support firefighters that have been diagnosed with cancer.
The legislation will establish the “Firefighter Cancer Health Care Benefit Plan” which provides a supplemental insurance policy once a firefighter is diagnosed with cancer. The benefits will help them be able to afford cancer treatments.
“It allows them to be able to focus their efforts on fighting the fight of their life literally as opposed to worrying how they’re going to pay for this,” said Midway Fire Chief Doug Eggiman.
Lillian Carney, the wife of the late Midway Battalion Chief Josh Carney said this bill would have helped their family.
“We had to tap into our savings account and we had to come up with the out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles all by ourselves and so the cancer bill is going to cover that deductible for the year and out of pocket expenses,” said Lillian.
In 2017, Midway Battalion Chief Josh Carney lost his battle with firefighter cancer. His wife, Lillian Carney said he served in the fire service for 25 years before losing his battle.
Studies show firefighters are twice as likely to develop cancer, and more aggressive types of cancer.
“For so long in the fire service, firefighter cancer was not talked about, decontamination and the training that they need to prevent firefighter cancer, it was not prevalent and even for Josh when he was first diagnosed, he didn’t really believe it was related to his job,” said Lillian.
“In the earlier days, we didn’t realize that soot on our face and our arms stuff like that, that was sort of a badge of a hard-working fire, actually was potentially going to kill us or make us very sick,” said Eggiman.
Lillian talked highly of the bill being signed by Governor McMaster and said it will help future firefighters.
“If you ask me this is one of the best bills out there in the country because it does not just include career firefighters but volunteers as well,” said Lillian.
Lillian is the President of the Carney Strong Initiative, a Nonprofit that assists fire departments in the area and throughout the country with decontamination supplies and donations.
You can read more on the Initiative here.
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