HERNANDO COUNTY Fla. — A Brooksville mother raised money to protect her son and all other firefighters from cancer exposure, by getting them new hoods.

  • Mother provides firefighters with new hoods
  • Thicker hoods protect firefighters from harmful chemicals 
  • Firefighters face a 9 percent chance of cancer diagnosis 
  • Donate to Hoods for Heros

According to the National Institute of Health, firefighters face a nine percent increase in cancer diagnosis and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related death.

That statistic concerned Lori Eppley, whose son is a firefighter in Pasco County.

“I remember when he graduated, I heard a lot about the increase in cancer risks, and I was like, 'Oh my goodness,'" Eppley said.

She wanted to do something to help. That’s when she came across “Hoods for Heroes” on social media.

“It said adopt a firefighter so I’m going to go on and get this hood for my son,” Eppley explained.

The new hoods have three layers, much thicker than the average hoods, protecting firefighters from dangerous chemicals.

But Eppley didn’t just get a hood for her son, she raised over $4,700 to get hoods for her son’s station and her local station, the Brooksville Fire Department.

Eppley said she wanted to help the Brooksville Fire Department as well because the firefighters are all someone's son or daughter. 

For Brooksville Fire Chief Ron Snowberger, it’s an issue that hits close to home.

“When I was 37 years old I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,” Chief Snowberger explained.

“The oncologists that I have seen have let me know that it was a skin absorption thing from various toxins and chemicals and products of combustion,” he added.

He fought the disease for five years about 20 years ago and is now cancer free.

“It’s an amazing relief for me to know that the firefighters are getting better protected because we face more and more different types of synthetics and chemicals,” he said.

Eppley hopes to get even more of these hoods to local firefighters.

“I just feel like I don’t want to stop here. I want to keep going and continue until more awareness is made for the need for this,” Eppley explained.

“Hoods for Heroes” has given out 1,000 hoods to firefighters. You can find more information about the hoods and how to donate on their website at www.hoodsforheroes.org