When Lexington firefighter Matt Logsdon fought two fires Jan. 26, he had no idea that he had stage four cancer.
Logsdon, a 10-year veteran of the department and a father of three, hasn’t been able to work since. After seeing a doctor, Logsdon learned last week that he had cancer affecting his liver, lungs, spine and skull.
“He had no symptoms whatsoever,” Capt. Dustin Whited said. “One of the guys kind of gave him a hard time one day and said, ‘Man, you look rough. You need to go to the doctor.’”
Whited, colleagues who rode with Logsdon on Engine 8, and firefighters throughout the department decided to do something to help. They started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Logsdon’s family with expenses. More than $18,000 has been donated so far.
“He shouldn’t have to worry about feeding his kids and keeping the electric on,” Whited said.
Logsdon, 42, has never smoked and has no family history of cancer, Whited said.
Firefighters might face a heightened risk of cancer because of carcinogens in smoke and other hazardous materials, he said.
The Lexington Professional Firefighters IAFF union is supporting a recent bill proposed to state and local governments that would provide line-of-duty death benefits for firefighters who die of cancers linked to firefighting, said Capt. Chris Bartley, president of the Lexington union. The bill, SB 138, is sponsored by state Senators Morgan McGarvey and Christian McDaniel.
“We try to take every caution,” Whited said. “But the nature of the beast is we’re exposed to a lot of things.”
In addition to helping Logsdon with his medical expenses, firefighters hope the donations will help his wife, Jessica; his two sons, 9 and 16; and his 8-year old daughter, Whited said.
“He’s not going to be able to work through all of this,” Whited said. “And because of it being in the lungs, regardless of the outcome, he probably will never work here again. Chances of coming back after cancer is slim.”
Friday was declared Firefighter Appreciation Day by Mayor Jim Gray after the fire Saturday that destroyed Blue Grass Stockyards. The business donated $5,000 to Logsdon, according to Bartley. Some firefighters are hoping the community will follow suit, Whited said.
“Instead of bringing cookies to the station or something, we’re hoping people will donate to that,” he said. “He’s one of us, he’s a firefighter, so it’s much more important to us than brownies or something brought by the station.”
Donations for Matt Logsdon may be made at GoFundMe.com/logsdonbattle.