SFFCPF Art of Fire.mp3
Sunday, February 19th
Sunday, February 19th
Sue Hall speaks with former SF Fire Dept. Captain Tony Stefani about the SF Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation Gala The Art of Fire March 4
Good morning I'm sue Paul this is today's world you can listen to this show and others at today's world SF dot com. Today eighth for the next fifteen minutes we are speaking with Tony Stefani he's a former San Francisco firefighter department captain. And you have put together in the San Francisco firefighters cancer prevention foundation. Tell us about that. Thank you sue. Well I was a firefighter in San Francisco for 27 years my 27 here are contracted a rare form of cancer. And was told that this type of cancer that I had was normally found in one and 100000 people. A worked at station 11 of the busiest firehouse is actually in the United States right across street from where receding and now and strange thing happened after a contract transitional cell carcinoma in my rate pelvis a second firefighter contracted the same disease at station one approximately a year and a half later. Then a third firefighter. And a fourth and then fixed all of us from the same fire house. Was deeply concerned about this. The doctor that I was seeing UCSF sit something had to be done about this. And I also wanted to give back to the firefighters that help me and I was sick. Basically had run out of sick time because cancer was not considered a presumptive disease in the department. And random vacation time and I had no income. But the fire the lieutenant to captain stepped up to the plate and donated. 24 hours of their time to meet. And actually was able to get me through all of my treatment to a point where I was able to retire. So my way paying back ways you approach to administration as well as the firefighters union local 798 and and tell them that we had a major prominent apartment that they were well aware of and something had to be done and so we put this nonprofit foundation together. With a tremendous amount of help local 798 that gave us 100000 dollars to be again the whole process. And this year we're celebrating our ten year anniversary. Something that is really turn out to be. Very important in the in the in the entire firefighting profession. And again it's San Francisco firefighters cancer prevention foundation and you're having a gallon the first we are on March 4 Saturday. Evening from six to eleven. Really happy to see were gonna celebrate our ten year anniversary. At the terror Terry gallery here in San Francisco. It's going to be an exciting night. Lots of exciting things in surprises that are going to happen that night. And have a chance to honor. A few people that have really done a tremendous amount for firefighters both here. In the city and nationwide let me ask first off how are you and how are your fellow firefighters. I am doing well. It's I've been. Actually healthy for fifteen years now. Doctor Marshall still there my urologist at UCSF has released me from further check ups. And I just have to be aware and be vigilant. And if I know something wrong then the phone call is made. We do have a tremendous amount of which wished that we have a tremendous problem with the cancer throughout her entire fight firefighting profession. Especially here in San Francisco. Our foundation right now is dealing with sixty plus. Firefighters both active and retired with some form of cancer six of them right now or stage four. So it's it's an ongoing problem. One that we are making headway with it to try to prevent. Future fires from contracting this disease. But it's it's a long process. There's a lot of things to deal with. It's especially. In the the low of the job that firefighters path but to have to also think about themselves now. What what do you think is in the firefighting profession is at the smoke. What what is the cause you think. The the cause is continuous exposure to toxic. Carcinogenic chemicals and even with a protective equipment that firefighters are wearing hats at working fires there is still a certain amount of these carcinogens that can permeate the equipment that they Wear. We've got to point now where we do what's called gross decontamination after working fire were far federal holes themselves off. Clean there equipment that they Wear assumes it back to fire house she hour. And I try to get you know as. Clean as it possibly can't Wear this has never happened in the past it was always a badge of courage to be had that dirty turnout Cote have that filthy helmet. And when you roll up on the scene of the firefighters she wouldn't they know okay this guys work and a lot of fires. It's no longer the case now we know. There's a great problem with these exposures. I've not I've not heard this problem and I'm just I'm sort of shocked by the just locally here by the the numbers yet it's. It's scary we were approached back in 2010. By the national institute of occupational safety and health. That wanted to conduct the first of its kind study looking at the causes of death that firefighters back to 1950. Cohort was 30000 firefighters from San Francisco Chicago and Philadelphia combined. He epidemiologist upfront told us that they thought there was no. There was that weren't they were not gonna see illiterates of cancer in our profession because they consider us to be a healthier group in the workforce. Then the normal people that are authored on you know. Did today mean physically fit that physically fit and and you know. Not having this problem well after the study was done based on that we had elevated rates of oral cancers digest of cancers. Jim this year cancers twice the rate of me malignant mesothelioma. Pirates of prostate cancer and and 65. Adherence Francisco we have six times the rate of breast cancer in female firefighters between the ages forty and fifty well. They see I know about the breast cancer especially here in the Bay Area back at it. They say that more women are getting checked that that that may have something to do with the higher. It the higher amounts. Anyway it's it's a shocking figure in a matter which way you look at all the way around. I was speaking with former department captain San Francisco firefighter captain Tony Stefani who has begun the San Francisco firefighters cancer prevention. Foundation with their big gala coming up the art of fire that's an interesting name the. We we thought we do something a little bit different even though we're talking about a dreaded disease we wanted to have. It's Speedo something bright and beautiful that that would also be involved in this. Event. So we have. We're gonna display thirty photographs done by temperatures as well as professional photographers here in San Francisco that capture. The work that the men and women of our department to. These are. Exceptional photographs pretty exciting stuff. I doubt they'll be framed they'll be shown that evening and and that people laid that attend the event will have. The option of purchasing them during our silent auction. Excellent that brings me to add the event itself if you have some honorees at that you'll be good paying attention to keynote speaker's knowledge in this is Saturday march 4. Yes the the honorees. Special group. These people have become great friends over the last ten years and one of home. For over sixteen years. And the first is doctor mark story to me that's that's responsible for peace sitting here today. He's the assistant chairman of the department urology at UCSF. Professor there and one of the most compassionate people you wanna meet. He is the one convinced me that something had to be done and to get the ball rolling in because these rates of cancer that we were seeing especially transitional cell carcinoma. We're not normal so we are going to honor doctor stolen that night he's also one of our lead research scientists. That or that we actually have race study apart mistake that we funded. Looking at the possibility of neutralizing some of these toxins at the cellular level. Buys something as simple as an oxidant or possibly a pharmaceutical or. Some type of you know a pill that's Garnett and fleshing and we got surprising some surprising results from that. That we hope is going to go now to and I H become full blown steady. The other two honorees. Our film producers change Redford disarm Robertson and Kirby walker both local people Kirby living here in San Francisco and and our good friend genie living up north date. That they have put together in me powerful documentary called toxic hot seat. And basically what it did is it looked at the chemical industry. And the games that these individuals play in this multi billion dollar and the multi billion dollar corporate world. It's pretty intriguing. I had the opportunity of being part of that film. They have a great concerns about the exposure the firefighters again because at this these chemicals and it's it is totally outlined. In that film and the last half power of that film is something where you knew sincere people gasped. Because it cannot believe it what is going on behind closed stores. With fifty every day work that some in the chemical industry due to actually. Not worry about the exposures that are happening not only two firefighters but the population in general but we're bit weary wary basically about the bottom line. And again it's called toxic hot toxic patsy and assigned it I understand it's on HBO and an HBO it was featured on HBO I believe it was in the latter part 20122013. It's still can be seemed on HBO go at any time. Outstanding aren't toxic hot seats are speaking with former separatist go firefighter department captain Tony stepped funny. Who has started a staff Francisco firefighters cancer prevention foundation just over the top numbers for. Firefighters in general but especially here in San Francisco and what if we'd just give up the website for folks that want more information on your big gala. That's coming up art a fire on March 4. Sue it's at www. SF FC PF dot org. That there will be a little link you can click on to that will give you the price for the seats and what's gonna happen that evening. It looks like let's just Rendell on the agenda if you're you recruited about five minutes left here okay. So the evening we'll start out with host a cocktails and the silent auction which the the artwork that's going to be displayed. And that will roll right into dinner. There's going to be couple surprises that I like to talk about it that's OK gonna occurred there. And opening comments will be made by doctor Jennifer Brokaw and the daughter of dot com broke and also assistant here in San Francisco and now part of our foundation. I'm very compassionate woman. That Olympic opening comments that role in two actor BD Wong. Who has a brother in the San Francisco fire department. And his concerns about cancer in our profession and the support that he has for firefighters. Finally. We roll into. Actor and handler. I've had the pleasure and the honor of going to Washington DC with Kevin to lobby. Senator Specter. To open their eyes and take a good look at what's happening in the chemical industry especially with. San the the state of California and proposition 65 which is extremely important. Tour to our state because it gives. The right. For our state to. Make oversight and take a look at things with the EPA is missing and possibly catch and prevent these toxic chemicals from coming into our state are being used. So that will speak of and is also an author. What a great book about his time with cancer when he was 25 years old and acting. On Broadway. So from from that point. Well go with to a video about three people that we've worked with that it had cancer. Actually two that have had cancer and one son of a firefighter. That lost his dad to cancer. And then. Going to. It's a special evening of dancing and having fun. Excellent and you have music and Mikey said dinner and food how how has the progress coming for prevention. Progress is made leaps and bounds in the last ten years. The the culture of the firefighting profession is changing. The men and women of the profession now realize that. Day have one or two chance of contracting cancer which. Is actual. Actually there the actual rate of contracting cancer for mail in the United States that are different fighters are not our problem is. Pitching reforms that this disease much younger ages. So they know what their face with one in the door now and precautions are being taken. On the fire ground in the fire house the way they eat that they sleep they try to get more of so things are being done not only is Francisco this is nationwide right now and every major metropolitan city. It's at the numbers are shocking and you've really opened my eyes what can people do obviously besides come to the gala on on March 4 to celebrate but how can people get involved. You know I think the most important thing is for people to be aware of what fire what they're firefighters are faced with. If you stop and think about it when we go running in the front door of a burning building. And you don't see Assange told there's white smoke and they come out and they're filthy. He have to note that these are special people that debt that love what they do. Are motivated by what they do would not change. They're profession for anything in the world. And wood and two you know. It's which is the greatest feeling in the world knowing that every time you rule out to stores you're going out to for one reason and that's to help somebody and it's an amazing profession. SF FC PF. Open dot org and that stands for San Francisco firefighters cancer and cancer prevention foundation. Former king Sanford Cisco a firefighter and department captain Tony stepped funny thank you for. All that you've done and congratulations on your health and your bill of clean bill of health I should say. And I hope the same is true for your fellow firefighters around around the country. The event go ahead the date march the fourth the Saturday evening. At the Terry gallery 511 Harrison street it's the art of fired the inaugural gala to celebrate the F phenomenal work at that you've done and your cohorts have done as well nominee gives the an email one more time or the website excuse me one more time. SF. FCP. App dot org and had tremendous success for unit the to have you back it to spread them the word of your wonderful cause thank you sir greatly appreciated. This is today's world I used to haul in if you wanna hear this show past shows or have to show ideas would love to hear from you. Visit us at today's world SF dot com.