When you think of the dangers of fighting fires, the risks of injuries caused by flames, intense heat, smoke inhalation, collapsing buildings and falling debris are undoubtedly near the top. But one Columbus firefighter is on a mission to warn his peers of the threat to their health by exposure to job-related carcinogens.

Three years ago, he was initially diagnosed with melanoma. He had his first surgery just days later. More surgery and chemotherapy followed, though doctors now say the cancer can’t be stopped.

His battle with cancer prevents him from fighting fires, but he refuses to give up a pair of fights for his peers and his family.

He spends his days addressing groups of firefighters, telling them about the toxins (benzene and formaldehyde, among others) they face on the job and how to effectively deal with the poisons. He also pushes to see legislation passed by Ohio lawmakers that would recognize that firefighters face exposure to carcinogens that sometimes result in cases such as his.

The bill would enable Ohio firefighters to receive workers’ compensation benefits in those situations. “My five children and my wife will have to go on,” the 33-year-old told the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s who this bill is for.”

We wish the brave fireman all the best in the biggest battle he will ever face. We hope his case serves as a reminder to keep fighting, even when it can appear that the odds are stacked against you.

Some Ohio workers feel that way after they have a workers’ comp claim denied. For many, however, that’s where the real fight begins. With the help of a Columbus attorney experienced in appealing denials of needed benefits, they can often prevail and obtain the medical care and wage replacement they deserve.