Updates from the front lines in the fight against occupational cancer in the fire service.

Mentor Spotlight: Alan Myers

Assistant Chief Alan Myers has worked his entire career serving the people of his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina.  He started at Berea Public Service District as a volunteer firefighter while still in college.  For the past 36 years, he has served as a full-time firefighter in various leadership roles, most recently the chief training officer and assistant chief.  He also serves as an adjunct instructor for the South Carolina Fire Academy, and as an advisory board member for the Enoree Career Center Firefighting Program.  His growing understanding of cancer among firefighters has allowed him to work with his hometown team and neighboring departments in Upstate South Carolina to develop decontamination mitigation protocols and training curriculum to preserve the health and safety of firefighters across the state.  In addition to being a firefighter and public servant, Alan is also a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.  Alan and his wife Brana have been married for 32 years and share two daughters and a son, and three grandchildren.

Alan’s cancer journey began in January 2018, when he was diagnosed with stage 3B cancer of the duodenum.  This aggressive and dangerous cancer in the upper part of the small intestine required that Alan undergo a radical surgery known as a “full Whipple,” which removed and resected parts of his full digestive tract.  After a one-month hospital stay and a three-month period of recovery at home, Alan returned to full-time duty in the spring of 2018.  He continues to fight against his cancer with maintenance chemotherapy and frequent doctor visits and scans.  However, despite the hardship of his cancer journey, Alan also believes that his faith and his commitment to a positive attitude and an active lifestyle have helped him heal and thrive.

His involvement with FCSN began after learning that his cancer, and other similar diagnoses, are common among firefighters.  He knew that the FCSN would allow him to tell his story and to help others feel more empowered in their own fights.  In his own experience, his fire department family played a huge role in his recovery, and that support continues to be significant as he fights on.  The FCSN provides a forum for Alan to make sure all of his firefighter brothers and sisters have a similar support system as they move through their own cancer journey.  It is through the FCSN that Alan is able to support others the way that he was supported during very difficult times.  He is honored to mentor fellow firefighters and to stand beside them as they fight against cancer the way they fight fire – brave, strong, and united.