Affable, willing-to-take-on-anything TV host, writer, producer, and spokesman Mike Rowe tackles firefighter cancer in his popular reality web television series, Returning the Favor. In the 19 hours since the show aired on Facebook, 728,000 people have viewed the program, more than 5,700 have shared the link, and 1,600+ comments have been logged – meaning that a whole lot of people are hearing about the impact of occupational cancer in the fire service from one of America’s most trusted sources.
In season 3, episode 17 of the series titled “Firefighters’ Fiercest Fight”, Rowe shows the devastating impact that cancer has had in the fire service – and in particular - on T.J. Maury, a resilient and upbeat Louisiana firefighter with a penchant for super heroes who’s battling stage 3 colon cancer. Despite 17 rounds of chemotherapy, more than two dozen radiation treatments, five surgeries, and a long road ahead, Maury, an assistant chief with the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base just outside of New Orleans, has demonstrated incredible strength and positivity throughout his bout with cancer. He received his diagnosis last summer on the same day he was set to receive the Civilian Fire Officer of the Year Award from the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. The 35-year old was chosen for the honor from more than 4,000 firefighters and emergency services personnel who are assigned to the 71 Navy installations around the world.
Returning the Favor shines the spotlight on everyday heroes who are making a difference in their communities. Maury’s contributions on and off the job, his awe-inspiring attitude, and the support of his community take center stage in the episode. At the same time, Rowe takes the opportunity to educate viewers on the toll that cancer is taking in the fire service as a result of the toxins that they encounter on the fire ground.
Whether you are among the 2.3 million followers of Returning the Favor, a fan of Mike Rowe, a cancer supporter, or friend of the fire service – be sure to check out the “Firefighters’ Fiercest Fight” segment and work to better educate as many people as possible about the potentials risks that firefighters are exposed to each and every day.