RICHMOND, Va - A Richmond Fire Chief battling stage four cancer is using journey, and the journey of his new scooter, to spread a critical message to firefighters across the country.
Creasy said his chemotherapy treatments have severely limited his mobility since his cancer diagnosis in 2014. Richmond firefighter Roger Myers knows the realities of cancer intimately, so he devised a plan to help Chief Creasy.
Myers said he lost his father to cancer in December, so he decided to give his father’s scooter to Chief Creasy.
“[My dad] built a bond of friendship with Battalion Chief David “Chico” Creasy while the two battled cancer,” Myers said. “[My dad] expressed that if he ever lost his battle, he wanted his friend Chico to have anything he could provide to help him continue his.”
Myers has arranged the “largest bucket brigade ever” to deliver the scooter from Florida on all the way to Richmond. Dozens of fire departments in five states have signed on to help transport it, but the firefighters helping out will also receive a message from Creasy.
"The more we got to talking about it, the more we realized this was a platform to spread Chico’s message to the fire service,” Myers said.
"When you’re battling the fire, you also have to realize you’re battling a lot of toxic materials,” Creasy said. “[Firefighters] need to be more aware about how we can get cancer, what we can do to avoid it.”
Creasy said he has no family history of cancer, so his doctors believe his 48 years battling fires likely led to his illness. Creasy points to studies that have found firefighters are exposed to up 50,000 toxins or carcinogens when responding to a structure fire.
Creasy said he hopes ever firefighter helping his new scooter along the way will research the cancer risks they face on a daily basis.
"It’s not just about a scooter traveling from fire department to fire department. It’s about, hey, this is about cancer,” he said.
His doctors tell Creasy he is doing better than most patients in his circumstance. Creasy credits that, in part, to the support of he has gotten from firefighters across the country.
"I lay that to the support and positive attitudes we take towards the treatments,” Creasy said.
The financial challenges of cancer are also impacting Creasy’s journey. He said he pays thousands of dollars out of pocket each month to pay for treatments not covered by his insurance. It is one reason Creasy urges all firefighters to explore their cancer insurance options.
On top of the scooter, Myers set up a Pay Pal account to help the family pay for medical expenses.
You can track the scooter’s journey of Facebook; it’s expected to arrive in Richmond on January 12.