Boston Fire Department’s Gut-Wrenching Short Film on Cancer Deaths Wins Award

Embryo Creative took home a Hatch Award for 'Cancer.'

Embryo Creative & The Boston Fire Department: CancerThe Hatch Award-Winning Video we created with the Boston Fire Department

Posted by Embryo Creative on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Boston-based content marketing and advertising firm Embryo Creative’s gut-wrenching short film on the high rate of cancer deaths among Boston’s firefighters took home a Hatch Award Wednesday night.

Embryo received a silver Hatch Award in the “Cause-Related Marketing Single Entry” category for “Cancer,” made in conjunction with the Boston Fire Department. It features former Boston firefighters like Kevin McNiff, who’s currently battling Stage 4 kidney cancer that has metastasized into his lungs, as well as the families of those who have lost the fight endemic to those in the profession.

“Cancer’s taken the job I love away from me,” McNiff says.

“It’s killing our members, simple as that,” says BFD Commissioner Joseph Finn. “It’s the one thing that’s going to kill firefighters more than building collapse, more than getting trapped—it’s cancer.”

When flame retardants combust, they emit dangerous carcinogens, which firefighters inhale while on the job. “It’s unacceptable that Boston firefighters have 2.5 times the rate of cancer than other Boston residents,” says former Boston firefighter Dr. Michael Hamrock. “It’s unacceptable that Boston firefighters come down with a cancer every three weeks. It’s unacceptable that 20 Boston firefighters every week develop cancer.”

Friends and loved ones of fallen firefighters tack photographs on a white wall as the collage grows larger. “I know I speak for myself, but I know the men behind me, on that wall, would say macho crap about, ‘You’re covered in soot,’ and ‘You look like you’ve been through the ringer,'” McNiff says. “There’s nothing macho about cancer.”

The Hatch Awards, named for New England advertising giant Francis W. Hatch, is awarded by The Ad Club to recognize excellence in the field.