Watch CBS News

Plano firefighter raising awareness for cancer, one step at a time

Plano firefighter raising awareness for cancer, one step at a time
Plano firefighter raising awareness for cancer, one step at a time 02:08

PLANO ( – Everyday firefighters like Jarrett Beshears of Plano Fire-Rescue suit up in their bunker gear to fight fires. But as they are saving lives, they could be putting their own at risk.

"It's what we sign up for, that's what part of the job is, we risk our lives to help people," said Beshears.

According to the CDC, cancer is the leading cause of death in firefighters. Their risk of getting cancer is 9% higher than the general public.

"It's come to light with us more in the past 10 years, cleaning our gear more, getting two sets of bunker gear for us after we have a fire because we're still having those carcinogens coming off our gear," said Beshears.

Starting March 16, he will walk at least 100 miles in four days—dressed in full bunker gear. His journey will take him on a loop through Corinth. Every step marks a stride in awareness for firefighter occupational cancer. It's called the Walk For The Red.

"In 2022 at our Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Colorado Springs, I believe it was 348 firefighters out of the 469 had passed away from occupational cancer. That's too big of a number, that gives me chills," said Beshears.

The Walk For The Red was started by his friend and fellow firefighter Joe Warne in Michigan. Now, Beshears is making it his mission to increase awareness in Texas. This will be his second Walk for the Red in Texas. 

"We do need support for the families," said Beshears. "Last year I walked for a fellow, he passed away at age 35, I'm 45 that makes my heart hurt."   

Last year they raised $27,000 that went directly to firefighters struggling with cancer and the families of firefighters who have lost their battle with cancer. On last year's walk, Beshears was joined by other firefighters, community members and the widows of firefighters.  

"It just breaks my heart to see these families after supporting their family members for so long in the fire service that they lose them way too early in life," said Beshears.

To donate and support families of firefighters battling cancer or to find out how you can walk alongside Beshears, click here or here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.