• Boston's Bravest: Firefighter's impact felt after losing fight against cancer

    By: Blair Miller

    Updated:

    Hundreds of Boston firefighters have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years, but one man lost his battle to the disease this week.

    Eddie Paris is remembered as a man full of life, after spending 40 years doing what he loved as a Boston firefighter.

    >>MORE: Another one of Boston's bravest loses his fight with work-related cancer

    "Someone once asked me if I had any regrets at all about becoming a firefighter," Paris once said. "I said, 'No, not at all.'"

    Paris's brother Rich praised his brother's passion, emphasizing his ability to help others.

    "He loved helping people," Rich Paris said. "He loved helping his guys."

    Like too many, however, Eddie Paris was diagnosed with cancer from his years on the job, and spoke in a Boston Fire Department video about the diagnosis.

    "Everyone thinks they're invincible," Paris said. "After 32 years, I find out I'm not so invincible."

    >>MORE: Boston's Bravest: Facing a Hidden Killer

    In September, the final straw came.

    "I never saw my brother Eddie cry until that day he told me he had Stage 4 cancer," Rich Paris said. "That's when I knew my brother Eddie wasn't doing well."

    This week, Paris died at the age of 64, just a few months from retirement.

    Rich Paris has been instrumental in getting the word out to fellow firefighters about the risks of cancer, but had to face the harsh reality of the disease hitting close to home.

    "The hardest thing that I ever had to do go through was seeing my mother, my sister in law, my wife and my kids," Rich Paris said. "What was really tough was, my son's in the US Marines.  He was close with Uncle Eddie. He couldn't come home to see him. We're a close knit family, but he's coming home at Christmas and we're all going to celebrate his life at Christmas."

    In the end, Eddie Paris's death serves a reminder to his brother, and the many more in the longest line of heroes, that the cancer issue is still very real.

    "It's hard, it's really hard," Rich Paris said. "But, Eddie wouldn't want us to cry. He'd want us to laugh, and he'd want us to keep up the fight for fighters and cancer."

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