In September 2020, 33-year-old Wade Cannon was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, and his diagnosis likely saved the lives of two others in his department.
FLOWER MOUND, Texas — A procession and funeral service has been announced for a beloved firefighter in Flower Mound who lost his battle with cancer at the shocking age of 33.
Wade Cannon died Saturday night after undergoing multiple chemotherapy treatments and clinical trials to thwart stage four colon cancer.
He was a member of the Flower Mound Fire Department for six years. His diagnosis came in September 2020 when he was just 31 years old.
His procession and funeral will be Friday, Oct. 7. The procession will begin at 9:30 a.m. from Mulkey-Mason Funeral Home and will travel to The Village Church, where the funeral will be held at 11 a.m.
The funeral is open to the public. More information can be found here.
Cannon’s cancer was linked to his occupation as a firefighter. Per the International Association of Fire Fighters, cancer is the leading cause of death in the industry.
Carcinogens and toxic chemicals are often highly present at fires where departments respond and often find their way onto bunker gear or the clothes firefighters wear.
They can then be absorbed through the skin, sometimes in places where firefighters sweat more like the groin or the neck area.
This invisible threat has led to firefighters getting testicular, colon, thyroid, and even skin cancer.
Captain Tim Mackling was Cannon’s station chief. He said it’s hard to digest the death of a firefighter so young.
“It’s been a tough week. I’ve cried a bunch, when he got diagnosed, it hit us like a ton of bricks,” Capt. Mackling said.
“But he came to work and was worried about us. He told us we all had to get tested and checked that we had to do better.”
That’s the type of person Cannon was, per Mackling: selfless.
“What would I do if I got diagnosed with colon cancer? And here you go, Wade is coming out fighting for everyone around him,” Mackling said.
Mackling said that more firefighters in the department got screened for cancer after Cannon’s diagnosis.
Two were diagnosed with colon cancer and had no idea the disease was with them.
Justin Norris’s cancer, 46, was caught early and is more treatable, and it hadn’t spread like Cannon’s.
“I wasn’t diagnosed as poorly as Wade’s was,” Norris said.
“Because of Wade’s diagnosis and how young he was, I went to get checked out. Getting colon cancer is rough, but I’ve had a good diagnosis, and if I had muscled through it, it would have gotten way worse.”
Before Cannon died, he was filmed urging more of his brothers to get screened sooner.
The Center for Disease Control urges adults from 45 to 75 to get screened for colon cancer, but Cannon’s death underscores that firefighters should be seen sooner.
“There is an element to other people getting checked out knowing that they’re going to be ok or not ok, and it gives me a peace of mind that regardless of how this turns out that we’ve won,” Cannon said in the video.
“It makes me feel like we’ve won.”
Last month, 56-year-old David Greene of the Fort Worth Fire Department died from occupational brain cancer.