Cancer survivor says new law regarding fire fighters cancer benefits is a huge victory

New law to help firefighters with cancer

A six-year cancer survivor, mom and Jacksonville firefighter calls a new law giving firefighters better health care benefits a huge victory.

Jacksonville Fire Lt. Sheryl Rodgers was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer six years ago while she was on the job.

“Got the biopsy results three days after my 38th birthday and they diagnosed me with triple negative right breast cancer,” said Rodgers.

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She underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy.

Rodgers said genetic testing revealed breast cancer didn’t run in her family.

Instead doctors told her it wass most likely caused by her job.

She said firefighters now are exposed to more toxins and chemical than they used to be.

“Basically, it’s what things are treated with now, so every textile in everybody’s home is treated with fire-resistant materials and coatings so when it off-gases and it burns, it burns carcinogens,” said Rodgers.

Rodgers says getting cancer on the job is a major concern for fighterfighters, but a new law is hoping to ease those fears by giving firefighters the benefits they need in case they get sick.

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Florida’s chief financial officers, Jimmy Patronis, was in Jacksonville Wednesday morning, talking directly to firefighters about the benefits of this new law.

Signed by Gov.Ron DeSantis on May 3, Rodgers says it’s a huge victory for current and new firefighters, helping relieve financial burdens like paying for their deductible or providing paid time off when a firefighter needs cancer treatment.

“So it’s not going to come out of their personal leave, they'renot going to drain that, they’re not going to have to worry about going without pay because they run out of leave time,” Rodgers said.

The law goes into effect July 1.