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Glendale firefighter to get important cancer treatment after winning claim

PHOENIX — Glendale Fire Capt. Kevin Thompson has been fighting for his life since April, when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

In May, the 26-year veteran of the department filed a workers’ compensation claim.

It was quickly denied by the city, even though Thompson’s disease is listed in the state’s legislation to protect the health insurance of first responders diagnosed with cancers presumed to be the direct result of their hazardous jobs.

Thompson appealed his claim and fought for his benefits.

After public outcry, Glendale overturned the denied claim at the beginning of September.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in certain white blood cells. Doctors told Thompson he’ll have the disease for as long as he lives. It’s incurable but can be treated.

During the five-month delay in workers’ compensation coverage, he had to postpone a stem cell transplant, which is expected to dramatically improve his health.

“Once the city accepted my claim, then my doctors were ready to go, go, go,” Thompson said Wednesday.

As he sat in court appealing the denial of his benefits, he should have been in a hospital preparing for his transplant.

His doctors wanted to complete the procedure quickly because they believe it helps keep patients like Thompson in remission.

“If I wouldn’t have had to delay the procedure, I would already be through most of the recovery the procedure is going to require,” Thompson said.

During the wait, Thompson continued to receive chemotherapy. His body responded well to chemo, setting him up for the necessary transplant.

Doctors believe the procedure will potentially give him 15 to 20 more years of life as he lives with multiple myeloma.

Thompson’s long-awaited transplant is now scheduled for Oct. 25.

“In a lot of ways, that will be like my new birthday,” he said.

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