Argyle Mayor Uses Personal Fight to Highlight Cancer in Firefighters

Argyle's mayor is using his own cancer battle to shed light on a larger issue of cancer in firefighters.

(Published Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018)

A politician from Denton County is using his personal story to help firefighters who are battling cancer. The fight can be expensive -- and some Texas firefighters are hitting a brick wall when it comes to benefits they feel they're entitled to.

Fighting fire is a job with dangers. Some obvious. Others, not as much. Don Moser, who was a firefighter is the Bedford Fire Department, rattled off a list of names. Men with two things in common: They were firefighters, and they died from cancer.

“Cancers through the fire service, in general, are spreading,” said Moser. “And people don't know about it."

Moser serves as mayor in Argyle. In May 2017 he was sworn into office. Just six weeks later he received life-changing news of his own.

A 4-year-old girl was left alone inside a minivan overnight in a Milwaukee tow lot, authorities said. An impaired driver was pulled over and arrested for operating while intoxicated. Officers removed a 10-month-old child from the vehicle but left the 4-year-old girl, who spent the night in the tow lot where temperatures dropped to 19 degrees.

(Published Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018)

“Doctor comes in, doesn't even get the door shut, and says, well, you have cancer,” Moser said.

Moser was diagnosed with metastasized prostate cancer. After seeking treatment options and wrapping his head around the fact that, at 52, he had cancer – he became involved with the group FACES -- Firefighters Against Cancer and Exposures.

Chris Conner is also a Bedford firefighter. He started to group after the death of one of his own close friends in the department. He wants to help fellow firefighters battling cancer with their medical bills.

“That stress alone is hard enough,” said Connor of a person’s initial diagnosis. “So, why do I want to add financial stress, mental stress, emotional stress."

Stress -- added by difficulty some Texas firefighters have in proving their cancer is job related. Many see their workers comp claims denied. Last year, NBC 5’s Alice Barr reported on the battles many of them face in gaining benefits, and on the push for early cancer detection, in a job made more dangerous by exposure to potentially cancer causing conditions.

“My initial reaction to those stories is absolute anger,” he said.

A Shawnee State University professor is suing officials after receiving a written warning for violating its nondiscrimination policy by not addressing a transgender student using the gender terms preferred by the student. Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor and evangelical Christian, filed a federal lawsuit this month against officials at the university in Portsmouth. 

(Published Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018)

“We are all about our first responders,” added Moser. “We honor them. Let's let them stand up so we can clap for them. No, let's take care of our first responders."

Moser – who can’t say for certain that his job as a firefighter led to his cancer diagnosis – said the disease is in remission. He knows he’s not out of the woods, yet. He also knows he’s not done fighting.

“My attitude is, just like with anything else, I'm gonna beat it up,” he said. “Got to beat it up and keep on rolling."

ONLINE:

- Website: FACES - Fighting Cancer Together - Article: "I'm Not Giving Up": Firefighters Battling Cancer & Worker's Comp Denials - Article: Firefighters Supporting Each Other Through Expensive Cancer Battle