On April 25, Beaufort lost a brother firefighter and dear friend to cancer.
Robert “Banny” Banfield was an avid runner, competition swimmer, husband, nature enthusiast and health nut. He was only 54 years young when he lost his battle with neuroendorcrine cancer.
Many of Banny’s family, friends and co-workers knew that Bob was the most physically fit person for his age group and was a person who lived a healthy lifestyle. He ate healthy/organic foods, ran marathons, biathlons, and competed in swim meets often. Bob even competed in the Hunting Island Biathlon months before passing away to show defiance towards his cancer.
Bob always put an emphasis on his physical fitness because he wanted to be in the best shape possible every time he stepped off the fire truck ready to act.
Cancer is a major illness that can threaten anyone at any given time. Firefighters are against more alarming odds than the general public. In a three-year study completed in 2005 by the University of Cincinnati, researchers concluded that firefighters face a 102% greater chance of contracting testicular cancer than any other type of worker, a 53% greater chance of multiple myeloma, a 51% greater chance of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a 39% greater chance of skin cancer, a 32% greater chance of brain cancer, a 28% greater chance of prostate cancer, a 22% greater chance of stomach cancer, and a 21% greater chance of colon cancer.
Before Banny passed away, his coworkers sat down with him one night at the firehouse during one of their big firehouse dinners and told him as a department they wanted to pull together to dedicate this year to raising money in his honor to help find a cure for cancer.
Firefighter Nate Hildreth said, “The smile on Banny’s face is something that will stick with me for a long time. I still wonder if it was because we were doing this in his honor or if the thought of all us actually doing a marathon was comical. Either way he was very honored and humbled.”
“Cubes for the Cure” was formed in early March 2012 with the goal to raise money and promote cancer awareness. The group has teamed up with the Beaufort Memorial Foundation for guidance and recognizing that Bob requested all proceeds to be donated to the Keyserling Cancer Center.
Along with the mission to run the half and full marathon in Savannah at the Rock and Roll Marathon on November 3, the new nonprofit is also going to attempt a world record. One of the firefighters will be running a full marathon while attempting to solve more than 100 Rubik’s cubes in order to break the current Guinness World Record that was set last year to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Every penny of all tax-deductible donations and sponsorships made during this event will be given to the Beaufort Memorial Keyserling Cancer Center to fund cancer research.
Cubes for the Cure is reaching out to the community locally, across the region and around the country to get involved. For those who have either never ran a race, have always considered doing one or are already an avid runner as Banny was, join the team to run or walk the half marathon (13.1 miles) or the full marathon (26.2 miles). Also, take a quick moment and jump on the social media wave to keep up to date on the group’s progress. “LIKE” Cubes for the Cure on Facebook and “Follow” them on Twitter @cubesforthecure.
Volunteers are also needed in the coming months at several fundraisers being held leading up to the race, including an event Oct. 20 at Carolina Wings in Port Royal. The group is seeking volunteers to help at various checkpoints along the race route in Savannah to help refresh Rubik’s cubes for the world record team, or to just show up to cheer on everyone.
As firefighter Hildreth said, “We are hoping that the organization of Cubes for the Cure will promote public awareness of all types of cancer to include neuroendocrine carcinoma, show that cancer has no prejudices to any one health style, and find more individuals who would like to participate in our cause as we ‘Battle for Banny.’
Chances are we have probably all known someone or even lost a close friend/family member to cancer. We hope that one day we can discover a solution to this disease and give us that edge to keep us around a little longer to celebrate life with those who love us.”
Get the Details: Visit www.cubesforthecure.org to sign up for a half or full marathon. Or simply make a tax deductible donation to the cause at www.cubesforthecure.org or www.bmhsc.org/foundation_events.htm.