LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s no secret that firefighters have a dangerous job, but when those fire responders clock out for the day, another danger lingers for many when it comes to their health.

Chuck Hallman was a volunteer firefighter and EMT and his son Richard followed in his footsteps.

Chuck said he knew the job was dangerous, but he never thought it may have been the cause of a life threatening disease.

“Nobody ever thought about cancer,” Hallman said.

For him, the thought of losing his 33-year-old son, Richard Hallman, stayed on his mind after Richard was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019.

“He was such an amazing person,” he said.

Throughout his life, Chuck’s son Rick was a firefighter, paramedic and a 911 dispatcher. Family members say after he was diagnosed he pushed for others to get checked for cancer as well, including his father Chuck.

“I got tested and I had colon cancer too,” Hallman said.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is hard to say if firefighting causes cancer. Experts say firefighters are exposed to many cancer causing elements, which include chemicals found in the firefighter’s equipment, diesel fumes and toxic products created by fires.

For Chuck, he wants something to be done, because in 2021, Rick passed away.

“He was at the age of 33 and died at the age of 36, leaving four children,” Chuck said.

“We need to get more studies done and have things looked at,” he added.

According to a nonprofit called Neighbors United, cancer was the number one cause of death for firefighters in 2019. For families like Chuck’s, Neighbors United supported them during a dark time.

“They helped him out and gave him a check to help defray costs,” Hallman said.

The nonprofit helps families and firefighters who are battling cancer afford needed treatment. This Saturday, September 10th, the organization will be in downtown Lansing in the morning.

Organizers say they will be walking across the state in the hopes of raising $125,000 for the men and women in red who are battling cancer and their families.

“It’s just an amazing organization and the care that they have for the people and the support that they give the firefighter and their families is just amazing,” Hallman said.