Saturday, September 15, 2012
The story of a San Francisco firefighter battling breast cancer, who was
denied her fellow firefighters' goodwill by the city of San Francisco,
has inspired many to offer their support.
Janette Neves Rivera,
44, told KTVU Friday she has been overwhelmed by generosity from
friends and strangers since her story became public Thursday.
"They said it's gone viral, even possibly across the country, East Coast
firefighters, people have gotten wind of the situation and they want to
be helpful," she said. "They want to be supportive."
mother of two, who is scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy, has used
up her sick leave and applied for the city's catastrophic illness
program, which would enable her fellow firefighters to transfer their
sick leave time.
The city's Public Health Department turned down the request, saying her current condition is not life-threatening.
"I couldn't tell you how angry I was after serving the fire department for 12 years," she said.
Public Health Department officials said Rivera's case is a confidential
personnel matter, but her story has quickly spread through Twitter and
on breast cancer survivor blogs.
"The word is just spreading very quickly. People are outraged." Rivera added.
At a breast cancer symposium in San Francisco Friday, Dr. Deanna J.
Attai said the Public Health Department's response is puzzling.
"I don't think you have to be on a respirator, in a coma to be
considered having a potentially life-threatening disease," Attai said.
"And breast cancer certainly qualifies, in my opinion."
said she intends to appeal the health department's decision even as she
prepares to undergo a double mastectomy in less than two weeks.