Calif. Firefighter Denied Leave Donation Back On Duty

A San Francisco firefighter battling breast cancer returned to duty on Thursday after the donation of sick leave by her co-workers was denied.

Firefighter Janette Neves Rivera is scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy next week, but returned to Station 26 in Diamond Heights temporarily after having used up her leave, according to KTVU-TV.

"It was nice to just be here and touch the rig and the equipment and see all my coworkers when I walked in this morning," she told the news station. "I needed to get a paycheck. It's been difficult not having a paycheck these last few months."

The 44-year-old mother of two applied for the city's catastrophic illness program that allows employees to donate their leave after 700 of her fellow firefighters stepped up.

Health Department officials ruled that her current condition was not life-threatening and turned down her application.

Rivera is now seeking worker's compensation and hopes the attention and support she's received will change how the city awards catastrophic illness benefits in the future.