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

Michelle Ice – State Director

Firefighter Michele Ice has been a firefighter for over 27 years with Cobb County (GA) Fire and Emergency Services. She retired in September 2019. Michele is also a CPR/First Aid Instructor, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Instructor, Child Safety Seat Technician Instructor, Hazardous Materials Technician, Firefighter Cancer Support Network State Director, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) state team member, Fire Explorer Advisor and on the GEMA Incident Management Type III Team. She is a wife and mother of two (Denver, 20 and Brooke, 22). Her husband, son and daughter are all career firefighters with Cherokee County (GA) Fire and Emergency Services.

Michele first got her introduction to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network in 2009.  One of her fellow Firefighters and recruit school friend was diagnosed with Leukemia and fought hard for 8 months before he passed away.  Michele had reached out to FCSN former president, Mike Dubron, for any type of information for Firefighter Cancer programs. She was so impressed with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network program, she started volunteering with FCSN in 2011 and became the Georgia State Director soon after.  Her mentors for her start were Keith Tyson, Tony Cruz and Trey Kelso. In 2015, Michele had an abnormal pap smear and biopsy, she was able to reach out to Trey’s mom in Texas for peer support for an upcoming Hysterectomy that was scheduled.  She was very helpful in Michele’s recovery and was able to answer any questions she had. Fortunately, the pathology showed no malignant cancer, but did show precancerous cells. In 2018, Michele was having issues with her hearing and the ENT Doctor found a “neoplasm” on the base of her tongue. After receiving a biopsy, it was also benign, but showed precancerous cells. They are now keeping a close eye on everything and she gets checked every 6 months. Even though she has not “officially” been diagnosed with Cancer, she knows it’s coming.

Michele has worked hand and hand with her Georgia State Legislatures to help pass a Firefighter Cancer bill and insurance program in 2018. She is the “go to” person in her state for departments and firefighters to contact when they get diagnosed with cancer. She has recently helped form a partnership with Firefighter Cancer Support Network and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and 1800Boardup. She is continually helping Georgia’s Cancer Fighters and their families.

She continues to educate others about the increasing risk of toxins and carcinogens to our Firefighters and has worked with the Georgia Fire Academy in helping to get the Firefighter Cancer Support Network education out to ALL their recruit and fire schools.  She is now on a panel for Women’s Cancers with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and hopes to assist with upcoming studies and research.  Her biggest honor is to be able to assist Firefighters with Cancer and promote an understanding that they don’t have to face it alone.