Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Friday that will provide the full cost of cancer treatment to firefighters across the state.
The bill passed with unanimous approval in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate.
7News cameras captured Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis as he held up the legislation during a ceremony held Friday.
“Two years ago, we started this fight to help our firefighters have the benefits they truly needed to deal with cancer,” said Patronis.
Statistics show 70% of firefighter deaths are related to cancer and are 15% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than the general public.
“There are men and women every day who sign up for a job that they know is not only going to put them in danger perhaps that day but is going to put them in danger for the rest of their life,” said Florida state Sen. Anitere Flores.
Division Chief Nick Morgada said although the disease took his father’s life, he refuses to let that stop him from continuing his legacy by serving his community.
“My father first got sick with cancer back in 1981, and he beat cancer then, and then in 2005 it came back,” said Morgada. “I’m a firefighter as well, so I’m just as susceptible to the same cancers as everybody else.”
The law will also provide $25,000 of upfront support and grant disability pay and death benefits for the firefighter’s beneficiaries.
“As I look amongst the crowd, I see many of our brothers and sisters who are currently battling this dreaded disease,” said Omar Blanco, president of the Miami Dade International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1403. “I hope that today we provide you with some peace and comfort, that not only are you continuing to battle this fight with the support of your brothers and sisters, but now you also have the help of these amazing elected officials in this community that loves you and cares for you.”
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