Firefighter finishes walk from Key West to Tallahassee for cancer bill

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A retired Orange County firefighter’s nearly 700-mile journey to get support for a cancer bill for firefighters is complete.

Former Orange County firefighter completes March of the Bull Tom ‘Bull’ Hill marched from Key West to Tallahassee Raising awareness about need for firefighter cancer bill

Tom ‘Bull’ Hill walked the steps of the state capitol in Tallahassee Thursday, carrying a backpack covered with the badges of fallen firefighters who lost their battle with cancer.

Hill started his march from Key West in March, moving up the Florida east coast, crossing through the Orlando area and up to Lake County.

Along the way, he picked up supporters in his quest to raise awareness of the dangers firefighters face, often without benefits should something happen to them..

"So many people, so many citizens, have outpouringly reached on their love for the firefighters, that there needs to be a change and now it’s to get these people to listen," Hill said Thursday.

Nearly 50,000 people signed a petition in support of the cancer bill.

A growing body of research shows firefighters are more likely to get the disease because of their profession — running into burning buildings.

A Senate bill to give benefits to firefighters who get cancer, and to provide death benefits to families should a firefighter die of cancer, died in the Florida legislative session this year.

Around 30 states already have a similar law, according to the First Responder Center for Excellence.

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