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The one hundred honoree: Joseph E. Finn

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Joseph E. Finn

Mass General Giving

Since 1990, more than 160 Boston firefighters have died of cancer, and every year 20 firefighters are diagnosed with the disease—2.5 times the rate of other Boston residents. Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn has taken decisive action to reduce those numbers.

Commissioner Finn has launched a safety, health and wellness campaign with cancer prevention at its core. His department has produced an eight-minute educational video about the cancer risks associated with chronic exposure to heat, smoke toxins and fire retardants. In the video, Commissioner Finn and Boston firefighters currently battling cancer urge their 1,400 colleagues to always wear their hoods and air masks. The department has presented the video at all of the city’s 33 firehouses.

“As president of Last Call Foundation, established in memory of my son, fallen firefighter Michael Kennedy, I asked Joe Finn what the Boston Fire Deparment’s greatest need was,” says past honoree Kathy Crosby-Bell. “He told me the heartbreaking statistic that a Boston firefighter is diagnosed with cancer every three weeks.

“Since then we have worked to provide needed tools for decontaminating firefighters’ gear. Joe Finn is determined to ensure every Boston firefighter is as safe as he can be from the scourge of cancer plaguing the department.”