Cancer-preventing products donated to Goose Creek firefighters in memory of Robby Brannon

Kayla Brannon presenting special products to the Goose Creek Fire Department on June 21. (Photo provided)

At first glance, it looks like any other care package: soaps, gear cleaning solution, wipes and health supplements.

But the care packages delivered to Goose Creek firefighters today weren’t just cleaning products.

They were specially-designed products that could save their lives.

The products have a specific and important purpose: to remove potentially dangerous and toxin-carrying dirt, oil and soot from firefighting equipment and vehicles, and firefighters themselves.

Studies have shown that firefighters are at higher risk of cancer and develop cancer at younger ages than the general population.It is believed that the extreme heat firefighters encounter cause skin to be more permeable to dangerous toxins.

One firefighter who lost a battle to cancer was Robby Brannon, with the Goose Creek Fire Department.

It has been less than a year since Brannon lost a brief yet courageous battle with cancer.

The potential danger that firefighters face weighed on Kayla Brannon after her husband’s death in 2017. It was during her grief that she met Lillian Carney.

Lillian was married to Midway Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Josh Carney, who was diagnosed with cancer five days before Robby's diagnosis.

After fighting for months, both firefighters lost their battle with cancer just five days apart.

In the aftermath of her husband’s death, Lillian Carney founded The Carney Strong Initiative, which works with non-profit organizations like Brothers Helping Brothers and Responder Wipes to provide fire departments with preventative cancer products.

Becoming friends with Lillian was a blessing for Kayla, who quickly became involved in the efforts that her counterpart was making on behalf of firefighters.

“My main duty is to just help educate, and make people realize (the dangers that firefighters face),” she said.

Goose Creek is the second fire department to receive a donation from The Carney Strong Initiative, following a donation made to Josh Carney’s own Midway Fire Rescue on Pawleys Island.

On Thursday, June 21, Brannon’s memory was honored with the special donation.

On June 21, Kayla Brannon was joined at the GCFD Headquarters Station by Infinity Safety Supply LLC owner Jay Drucker.

Together, they presented the donation.

Drucker, whose upstate company has worked with The Carney Strong Initative, said the wipes “are a decomantimation tool. They have a chemical bonded water to them that helps lift (toxins) off the skin without putting it into the skin.”

The charcoal-based soaps have a similar ability, as does the gear-washing solution.

GCFD Chief Steve Chapman thanked Kayla Brannon for the donation, and also thanked The Carney Strong Initiative for making the GCFD one of its first recipients. “We’re excited about this donation,” Chief Chapman said. “I think (these cleaning supplies) are something every fire department should use.”

Chief Chapman said the GCFD plans to purchase more Responder Wipes as well as other decontamination items after the donated supplies run out.

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