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Fair: Performance, spirit exceed her name

October 8, 2012
By KAYLA VAN DYNE - Times Leader Staff Writer , Times Leader

NEFFS - Yvonne Fair is a 27-year old firefighter that has yet to let anything keep her down, whether it is rushing into a fire or fighting melanoma, a cancer that is spreading throughout her body.

It was while she was in the U.S. Air Force, where she served as a bio engineer, that Fair was diagnosed with melanoma. Due to the effects of the chemotherapy, Fair was given an early retirement after four years. She first entered in the air force on a whim and had the urge to get away.

"I was a nursing student and working seven part-time jobs," said Fair, outside the Neffs Fire Department, where she works as a part-time firefighter. "I was working at Levin's and on my break; I walked down and told (the recruiter) that I wanted to join."

Article Photos

Fire fighter Yvonne Fair works at both the Neffs and Brilliant Fire departments. Her battle against cancer has yet to slow her down.

Her younger brother, Tony, is still in the U.S. Air Force. After asking how soon she wanted to leave, Fair told them as soon as possible.

Along with working at Neffs Fire Department, she volunteers at Brilliant Fire Department.

"I have the greatest job," said Fair. "It takes most of my life."

Fair has always wanted to be a firefighter. Her love for the occupation began at an early age, mostly from her father. He was the police chief at New Alexandera and after seeing emergency scenes and calls, Fair knew that becoming a firefighter was something she wanted to do.

It was also from her father that she developed her 'suck it up and deal with it attitude' that has pushed her through life and her fight against cancer.

"My biggest inspiration would be my dad and the way he pushes me," said Fair, who also gets a shove from the guys she works with at the fire house. They treat her like one oof the guys and never let her quit.

Fair describes herself as not being able to sit still and having the need to constantly be into something whether it's good or bad. Outside of the countless hours given to the firehouses, she races motocross, which she has been doing for 22 years.

The discovery of the melanoma came when she went to the doctor for a lump on her neck, which the doctors chalked up to being a cyst. After the cyst was removed, a test showed that it was far more. Fair is currently undergoing chemo to keep the cancer, that has spread everywhere, in check.

But still the doctors have given her three years to live.

"You have a different outlook when you are given a timeline," said Fair.

Until that day, Fair has no plans to stop her life for she feels that there are worse things in this world than having cancer and someone always has it worse.

For now, she will continue to chisel away at her extensive bucket list, which has such items like jumping out of an airplane, seeing Germany and Italy and making sure everyone is taken care of.

"I'll do anything as long as the funds are available," said Fair. "I don't plan on stopping."

Van Dyne may be reached online at



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