Members of the New Hartford Fire Department are holding a benefit on Sunday for one of their own. Firefighter Mark Schafer, who has over three decades of service with the department, was diagnosed in 2022 with stage four colon cancer.

"This provides you an opportunity to say THANK YOU and help Mark and his family keep fighting," the event poster reads.

Schafer and his wife, Stacey have seven foster children, and "through it all, Mark has remained strong," according to the flyer.

Friends say Schafer has not been able to work since the diagnosis, thus losing his income as he and his family are accumulating medical expenses associated with his treatment.

Across America, firefighters are 1.2 times more likely than the general public to develop colon cancer.

Results of study published the In 2013 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of firefighters and cancer rates. The results showed firefighters have an increased rate for a number of cancers. Colon cancer is one of them, according to the Firefighters cancer support organization.

In addition to the NIOSH report, the 2006 “LeMasters Cancer Risk Among Firefighters: A Review and Meta- analysis of 32 Studies “It was found that there is an increased risk of colon cancer among firefighters. There have been numerous other studies that show similar results.

Real Men Get Tested for Cancer reminds people that the importance of annual medical exams and screenings cannot be understated.

The benefit for Mark Schafer will be held Sunday at the New Hartford Fire Department from noon until 4 pm.  Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

More From WIBX 950