TEQUESTA, Fla. — A big crowd turned out at McCarthy's Pub in Tequesta Saturday, including the public and first responders, to show support for firefighter James Stack. Stack was recently diagnosed with stage four Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is in need of a bone marrow transplant.
Alicia Militello is among the people who came out and showed support at this fund raising event. Her father is Stack’s mentor and has the same cancer.
"It’s very great to have a big support system, because not a lot of people know that a lot of firefighters get cancer," said Militello.
The disease is an aggressive cancer usually seen in people over the age of 65 but is more common in younger firefighters. However, because Stack doesn't meet the criteria for firefighters who get cancer, and he is on unpaid medical leave.
Dozens of people signed up to be a bone marrow donor, in hopes there would be a match for Stack. A way to raise more awareness of cancer among firefighters.
"He's out of work, he can’t help that’s all of us. We’re one day away from this. He would do it all. He's got a huge heart," said Jason Fawcett, Tequesta Fire-Rescue PIO. "He would do all of this for any single one of us. We’re just paying it forward and hoping that we don’t ever need it."
Jason O'Brien is the vice president of the non-profit firefighters to the rescue out of Jupiter and presented Stack with a check of $2,000.
"Cancer in the fire service is a really big thing right now. We are three to four times more likely to contract any type of cancer in the fire service," said O’Brien.
Despite the odds, Stack is optimistic and grateful.
:I've been so empowered by everybody here holding me up, my brothers and sisters and I can’t explain it. I just want the public to realize that despite our risks for danger and sickness, that we all choose every day to do this for the public," said Stack. "I can't thank anybody enough for the support, especially God."
Click here to learn more about his fight.
Click here to contribute to his GoFundMe page here.