Firefighters will walk across Michigan in turnout gear to spread cancer awareness

Walk takes place in September

Since 2019, Joe Warne, a Macomb Township firefighter, has been fighting for a cause near and dear to his heart.

Warne explained one of the dangers the firefighters face with their health that the everyday person might not know about.

“Our biggest danger would be cancer. All the carcinogens and everything in the new home construction, all the diesel fuels and diesel fumes coming out of the engines and all the plastics that are being put into the new homes,” explained Warne. “9% to 25% of firefighters will contract cancer sometime in their career after they retire. It’s turned into our number one killer.”

To bring awareness to this health issue, the Macomb Township firefighter and his peers are strapping on their fire gear and walking from Macomb Township to Grand Rapids in four days.

The 140-mile walk takes place every September and coincides with 9/11. All the funds raised for and during the walk are donated to firefighters in need.

“We found out there was firefighters that didn’t have stoves, hot water heaters, heat in the home. So a lot of them couldn’t afford gas to get to and from chemo, some of them needed money to stay in hospitals and some of them just needed that last vacation with their kids before they passed away,” said Warne. “They’re willing to give your city and their town everything, their life, and they need your help.”

Watch Mitch Albom’s The Heart of Detroit feature story in the video player above.

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