LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas firefighters are feeling encouraged as a bill advances that would help those among their ranks who are now fighting cancer.
A House committee passed the bill today, that would provide retirement benefits to members of the fire department who are diagnosed with cancer in the line of duty.
The legislation was inspired by a firefighter who exhausted his sick leave after receiving a cancer diagnosis, forcing him to go back to work to provide for his family until the day he passed away.
Firefighters say cancer diagnoses are not uncommon in their work, and the bill could provide much-needed help.
Matthew Stallings, of the Arkansas Professional Fire Fighters Association had this to say, “When you’re dealing with cancer, it’s costly financially, but also it takes a lot of time. You get one procedure done, you get another procedure done, and then you’re six months in before you’ve even started real treatment. So this is, hopefully, a buffer so that we don’t have guys exhausting all their sick leave fighting what, presumably, they got on the job.”
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Nicole Clowney (D) says that it should come up for a vote in the full house tomorrow.