Governor Kasich signs bill recognizing cancer as work-related illness

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A huge win for firefighters, Governor John Kasich signed the firefighter cancer bill into law Wednesday. It’s something a Columbus firefighter with terminal cancer has fought to see pass since he was diagnosed in 2012.

Mark Rine was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma in 2012. It’s a terminal form of cancer. He said the bill gives firefighters diagnosed with cancer hope. Plus, peace of mind they and their families will be taken care of financially.

“It was my dream. Most people have dreams. I got to fulfill my dream,” said Rine.

Rine knew he wanted to be a firefighter in the second grade.

“I remember going home and telling my mother this is what I want to do for a living.”

For nearly 10 years he did what he loved. But, on September 11th, 2012 came a diagnosis that changed his life forever.

“They think of cancer, they automatically think of death,” said Rine.

Four years after the cancer diagnosis, after multiple surgeries and monthly chemotherapy, Wednesday he got to see Ohio Governor John Kasich sign Senate Bill 27 into law.

It recognizes the link between fighting fires and cancer and gives firefighters with cancer additional workers compensation benefits and money for medical costs.

“It’s another tool in the tool chest for us,” said Lt. Joe Daniels with the Marysville Fire Department.

Lt. Daniels said cancer is something he thinks about every day.

“A lot of our brothers and sisters are being diagnosed 10 years into their career. They’re not making it to retirement,” said Lt. Daniels.

He said the bill passing means someone’s got their back.

He wants Rine to know his firefighter brothers and sisters have his.

“To see Mark be a champion for Senate Bill 27 as well means a lot to all of us, even for those of us who have never met him. To sit in a room and hear Mark talk is really inspiring.”

Later this month on January 14th Rine is dropping the puck at the First Responder Face-Off. It’s a hockey game between Columbus Firefighters and Columbus Police at the Schottenstein Center. Proceeds benefit Get Behind The Badge and the International Firefighter Cancer Foundation.

To learn more or buy tickets visit: www.firstresponderfaceoff.com

The puck drops at 4:30.

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