Hampton firefighter who documented cancer battle before death is honoredBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent March 31. 2017 9:51PM
HAMPTON — Nearly a year after losing his public battle with cancer that was documented by filmmakers, Hampton firefighter Kyle Jameson was posthumously awarded the “Everybody Goes Home Seal of Excellence Award” at an event Friday.
The award was given by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation along with a $2,500 donation to benefit his wife, Christine, and their son, Liam, who turns 2 in June.
She and other family stood inside a bay at the firehouse where they were surrounded by dozens of firefighters from Hampton and elsewhere, including Derry, where Jameson had worked for 10 years and began playing the bagpipes for the New Hampshire Pipes and Drums.
The 33-year-old Jameson died on May 15, 2016, after sharing his story in a film created by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation aimed at raising awareness of the high rate of cancer deaths among firefighters.
The excellence award was presented to recognize his efforts to bring attention to the issue of cancer within fire service.
Jameson’s wife said it was nice to see so many honoring his legacy.
She said her husband’s work on the video gave him purpose as he fought his cancer.
“It gave him motivation to keep going and to help others who are in the situation. He wouldn’t have called himself a role model but I certainly would,” she said.
Jameson knew there was about a 50 percent chance that he wouldn’t beat the cancer, but the video and its message were important to him.
The months since losing her husband have been tough, especially as a mother trying to raise a young child who doesn’t quite understand what happened.
“It’s really complicated having a baby and now I’m doing it all by myself. I didn’t realize just how young the challenges would come. We watch videos of him. We have pictures. His pillow has pictures of Daddy on it, his blanket has pictures of Daddy. We talk about him a lot so he’s very well aware of who he is, but what he’s starting to get confused about is where he is,” Christine said.
The $2,500 donation to the Jameson family was given through the newly formed Hampton Firefighters Charitable Organization. The group was in the process of being created to carry out charitable work when Jameson died, according to Hampton firefighter/paramedic Craig Jordan, the organization’s president.
Just more than $70,000 has been donated to his family since Jameson’s death through a campaign called Team Jameson.
“Kyle’s video is really the tip of the spear. The National Fallen Firefighters put a face on somebody that was directly affected. It’s not just a fireman. It’s not just a guy who wears a helmet and a coat. It’s a family that was affected and a community that was affected,” Jordan said.
Meanwhile, members of the fire service community are pushing for changes to recognize cancer as a line of duty death for New Hampshire firefighters, which would allow survivors to receive benefits.
“As we’re seeing right now, cancer rates in firefighters are off the charts when you compare it to the average citizen. That exposure takes years to develop, but you can’t always point that to one incident,” Hampton Fire Chief Jameson Ayotte said.
The video featuring Jameson continues to be viewed as a training tool for those in the fire service, according to Rick Mason, training and education coordinator for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.