Family hopes to save firefighters from getting cancer

Pee Dee

Firefighter Josh Carney’s family started the Carney Strong Initiative to help fire departments nationwide stay safe after he lost his life to stage 4 melanoma cancer. The non-profit donates decontamination materials to fire departments in rural areas each month.

My ultimate goal with Carney Strong is that no other fire wife is handed an American flag from her husband’s casket, said his wife Lillian Carney.

Carney was 41-years old and working at Midway Fire Rescue in Pawley’s Island South Carolina as a Battalion Chief before the diagnosis. It was a career he chose at the age of 15 said his wife. Although they knew the job had its dangers, they never thought cancer would be one.

He always wanted to make sure all the guys did their jobs, and that they took care of themselves. But, unfortunately it was just too late for us to know that occupational cancer was a thing, Lillian said.

On October 19, 2017, Carney lost his battle to cancer, but his family members were determined to share his story and help other firefighters protect themselves.

To keep his legacy alive, they ended up partnering with Responder Wipes to create the Carney Strong Initiative. Each month they choose a fire department and give them wipes, gear and equipment cleansers, soaps and more.

Carney Strong chose the Johnsonville Fire Department for the month of March. Johnsonville Fire Chief, Henry Humphries said that staying safe is important while saving lives.

If we don’t start looking out for our people, the firemen and women that actually run all this big nice equipment that we have at new stations, there would be nothing but a truck and a building, so we got to start protecting our people more than we do, Humphries said.

Individuals interested in getting materials for a fire department can put in a request on the Carney Strong website.

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