Friday, April 16, 2021

Going Global with Firefighters Cancer Advocacy: F.A.C.E.S. 2.0

One year after the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, I founded the NY Cancer Resource Alliance with my "GET CHECKED NOW!" campaign for the many people I personally knew who were not very proactive about checkups and health monitoring as far as cancers (and there were many).  In my journey with Cousin "Sal" Banchitta (ret FDNY) speaking in firehouses and FF groups about cancer,  my interest was always in finding and reaching more of them. Years of face to face meetings became web conferences- allowing a local initiative to go national rather quickly.

But it wasn't until I met Lt. Chris Conner, president and founder of F.A.C.E.S. (Firefighters Against Cancer & Exposures) that I found the next chapter of my benevolence work.  From Bedford Texas, Chris has been implementing his own version of rescue to firefighters in need (from Cancer) as a charitable fund. Chris was the first FF org to endorse my documentary film "The Fire Still Burns" and supported all of NYCRA's initiatives as far as public outreach, cancer research support, education and all the work that typical cancer orgs do- but targeted to firefighters.

By 2021, Covid changed the shape of fundraising, advocacy and education - forcing everyone to go virtual. This leveraged our cancer networking message (through social media) to connect with doctors and survivors from Italy, the UK, Greece, Russia, Japan, the Netherlands and Italy.

On 3/31, NYCRA kicked off the first Cancer PowerMeet through Zoom and it was a great success. Our first topic was about Occupational Cancers from the Fire Service combining a panel of presenters from the retired FF community + cancer experts.  F.A.C.E.S. was one of our supporters in this as one of the national FF groups that helped us get the word out.

This got the attention of the medical societies and the public service community both domestically and abroad!  Overnight, we racked up hundreds of hits and commenters from many languages. The same global audience for our international cancer publishing is now reading our stuff about firefighters cancer.

In a matter of days, we organically merged 2 platforms together to form F.A.C.E.S. 2.0. (with a new website, This brand allowed us to kick off new Firefighter E-events and reach the entire community on a much wider scale.  NYCRA (as in New York) became I.C.R.A. (Integrative Cancer Resource Alliance) the same week- shifting us out of our local platform.  But Chris made thousands of new friends overnight, introduced all our cancer advocates, educators, clinicians and medical researchers plus our combined resources from all the cancer orgs who are all supportive of Firefighters Cancers.

As ALLIANCES go, finding synergy is never easy. But once you do, you can build magic!

Now the work begins!


The desire to extend a helping hand to those in need is in all of us- especially when someone's health or physical well being is at risk. FIREFIGHTERS lead this spirit of responding to a call for rescue during times of crisis or disaster. BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A RESPONDER NEEDS HELP?

Leading the global front of this helping hand means searching for all available RESOURCES. FACES bands together as a community to form a solid support resource system between all cancer organizations and firefighter support groups.

FIREFIGHTERS AGAINST CANCER & EXPOSURES ( F.A.C.E.S. ) is founded by Christopher Conner of Bedford, TX. As a first responder, Chris established a community of resources dedicated to helping firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer. Originally established as a charitable foundation, the 2021 version of FACES aligns with the strength of all cancer orgs, cancer resources and first responder groups to collectively bring public support and aid to our heroes in all ways possible. Firefighters and their families dedicate their lives and lifestyles to save others; it is our turn to help them. Heroum Animas Salvas. Save the Lives of Heroes. 

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