New Mo. program to support firefighters battling cancer

The Missouri Fire Fighters Critical Illness Pool aims to financially support firefighters facing the 17 cancers that occur more frequently for those in the fire service


Riley Funk
St. Joseph News-Press

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — A Missouri health group is starting a benefits program to help firefighters struggling with cancer.

The Missouri Fire Fighters Critical Illness Pool aims to assist firefighters in managing the burdens and financial challenges associated with health issues.

This undated fluorescence-colored microscope image made available by the National Institutes of Health in September 2016 shows a culture of human breast cancer cells.
This undated fluorescence-colored microscope image made available by the National Institutes of Health in September 2016 shows a culture of human breast cancer cells. (File photo/Ewa Krawczyk/National Cancer Institute/Associated Press)

The program was created after the passing of Senate Bill 45 following two years of researching cancer issues. The new benefits program is designed specifically to financially support firefighters facing one of 17 nationally recognized cancers that occur more frequently in the fire service. These include cancers of the esophagus, kidney, lung and brain, along with melanoma, mesothelioma and many others.

Joe DePaepe, the MFFCIP program administrator, said that the biggest hope for the program is to give firefighters one less thing to worry about.

"Firefighters are essential to our communities and worrying about how to pay for cancer treatment shouldn't be something a firefighter has to consider, especially given the extraordinary demands of their profession," DePaepe said. "Beyond that, the hope is the MFFCIP can provide firefighters the coverage and support they need to treat and fully recover from a cancer diagnosis and help prevent firefighters from getting any form of the disease in the first place through continued education and best practices."

DaPaepe said that the key to the mission of the MFFCIP is the early detection and prevention of cancers and other health issues.

"It's not enough to simply take care of our firefighters once they have cancer symptoms or have been given a diagnosis," DePaepe said. "We want to prevent cancer completely, and the way we can help achieve that goal is through education."

One of the resources for early detection is the "3 Steps Detect" Online Learning Program, which is available through the MFFCIP website at www.mffcip.org/.

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(c)2022 the St. Joseph News-Press

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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