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North Texas firefighters walking 140 miles to benefit those battling occupational cancer

Cancer is the leading cause of death in firefighters. On Thursday, firefighters and family members started a 140-mile walk in Celina to honor the fallen.

CELINA, Texas — On Thursday in Celina, a group of firefighters and family members started the beginning of their 140-mile journey. It's called Walk for the Red 140, and it is the first time it's being done in Texas.

The walk is to honor firefighters who died of occupational cancer, or those who are currently battling the disease. Cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters.

Jarrett Beshears, a Plano firefighter, is leading this walk to raise money for the cause. It's personal to him, losing a close friend and coworker to cancer.

Gerald Don Becker, who colleagues called "Goon", died in March 2020 of malignant melanoma. He was a driver engineer, and Plano Fire-Rescue's first cancer-related line-of-duty death. Becker was 62 years old, and served for 37 years.

RELATED: Plano firefighter, 62, dies due to work-related cancer, department says

Becker's wife, Marian, started the first leg of the walk with Beshears. She shared stories of her husband. 

"He didn't have any intentions of retiring any time soon. He just loved his job so much. He was very passionate about it," said Marian. 

Several other family members of fallen firefighters are also participating in the walk.

RELATED: Lancaster firefighter dies of cancer at 31 years old

These firefighters and their loved ones will end the walk in Plano on Sunday. They ask for honks and cheers if you pass by them over the next few days.

Walk for the Red 140 was created by a firefighter, Joe Warne, who started his career in Celina. He's doing the full 140 miles with Beshears. Currently residing in Michigan, Warne is grateful to bring the walk to Texas.

For more information, or to donate to the cause, click here.

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