What Sweep Away Cancer Is All About

What does chimney sweeping have to do with cancer? Good question. Did you know that 85% of people booking appointments with chimney services are women?

This percentage was mentioned by a keynote speaker at the 2015 National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) Convention in Lancaster, PA, and left a big impact on one of Sweep Away Cancer’s founders, Tommy Nelms (founder of Sweeps & Ladders Chimney Service). On the flight home, Tommy wondered, “How can we give back to those who have given us so much?” That’s when he remembered his years as a firefighter. Every October, his fire department wore pink shirts to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. The fight against breast cancer is near and dear to Tommy’s heart, as he lost his mother-in-law to the disease. Tommy thought, “Couldn’t those of us in the chimney industry commit to giving back to women by raising money and awareness for cancer as well?”

As soon as the plane landed, Tommy called his good friend (and local competitor), Mark Stoner (founder of Ashbusters Chimney Service), who always says, “If you have a good idea, share it!” and Darin Bibeau, the President of National Chimney Supply. They decided to commit to this movement together, but wondered if they could take it even further.

From there, they shared their mission with those in Tommy’s MIX group, including Hope StevensonDavid & Sharon LambBill MurphyJake & Jessica CromwellPatrick & Alex TinsleyDuane BibeauMark & Katie Maynard, Doug & Frances HetschChuck HallChuck Roydhouse, and Kirby Ragland. Every single person they shared their idea with wanted to be a part of this worthy cause.

Companies bought t-shirts for their team members, solicited donations, and even donated a percentage of their chimney sweeping proceeds for the month of October.

Because of everyone’s willingness, excitement, and effort, in less than a month, Sweep Away Cancer had gone from an idea to a movement that was making a difference. Now a 501(c)(3) with a Board of Directors that oversees all monies raised, Sweep Away Cancer is able to disseminate funds to multiple individuals affected by this life changing disease. And it all started with a desire to give back and make a difference in the lives of women.

Over the years we have provided aid to those in need by helping with assistance with hospital or medical expenses, mortgage/rent payment, groceries and prescriptions.

Those involved will tell you that what makes the chimney industry special is that the men and women in the industry truly care about one another. Mark and Tommy are competitors, yet they came together to start something bigger than themselves. That may be rare for many industries, but it’s not rare in the chimney industry. Chimney companies and other companies have joined the movement and have allowed us to help so many!

Launching this movement has truly been a group effort – one inspired by Tommy’s old fire department – that has gone global. Are you ready to join the movement and give back? Join us as we work to Sweep Away Cancer!