Arcata firefighter returns to work cancer-free

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ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM) – In September of 2019, firefighter Anthony Benelisha was diagnosed with cancer. He began treatment in late October.

Benelisha said the treatments started out easier and became increasingly harder as the process continued. It created a new lifestyle for him, presenting many challenges for him to overcome. Exercising was one everyday activity impacted by the treatment. Even in his recovery, it has still been a challenge.

Benelisha’s family, friends, and co-workers rallied behind him. Community members also provided support. He said without these support groups, he would not have been able to get through the process. Benelisha’s co-workers assisted him in multiple ways, even driving him to San Francisco for treatment. Local agencies, including the Arcata Police Department provided support as well. Officers helped decorate Benelisha’s house for Christmas when he was sick.

He said the entire process was an incredible human experience and hopes that he can give back. Throughout the treatment, he said the hope of returning to work complemented the support from others.

Now that he is back on the job, Benelisha said it feels good to be back.