Firefighter cancer claim sparks dispute between Glendale, senator

Glendale firefighters. /Photo via Facebook

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

UPDATE: Court gives Goodyear firefighter with cancer 2nd chance to get workers’ compensation

Kevin Thompson exudes optimism, even when talking about the harsh reality of his cancer diagnosis. 

“I’m fairly certain heaven is going to be awesome,” he says with a chuckle, “but I don’t want to see it tomorrow.”

Thompson was diagnosed in April with multiple myeloma, a cancer that some of his fellow firefighters refer to as the 9/11 firefighter cancer, given its prevalence among first responders to the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. 

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood that there is no cure for. 

“Quite literally – not figuratively – if I want to stay alive, I will need chemotherapy for the rest of my life to keep my multiple myeloma in check,” Thompson said.

Thompson has worked as a firefighter for the City of Glendale for 26 years. During that time, he was exposed to a litany of hazardous chemicals and carcinogens that could have been the genesis of his cancer. 

So, after his diagnosis, Thompson made a workers’ compensation claim with Glendale. An Arizona state law passed in 2017 allows for firefighters with specific types of cancers to get compensation for treatment, and Thompson was hoping for just that. 

But Thompson’s claim was denied by Glendale. 


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