Illinois Paramedics, Firefighters Raise Money for Pediatric Cancer Patients

Illinois Paramedics, Firefighters Raise Money for Pediatric Cancer Patients

News Jul 31, 2017

July 31—Firefighters from across the Southland came together on a recent Saturday to do battle and raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Fire Up A Cure, held at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, featured teams of firefighters competing in various events such as tug of war, dodgeball and a relay obstacle course while being cheered on by pediatric cancer patients and their families. In the last six years, the Cure It Foundation, which organized the event, has raised more than $250,000 for pediatric cancer research.

"It's just a great cause and it brings a lot of attention to what these kids go through every day," said Jeff Kane, a firefighter with the Oak Lawn Fire Department. "Hopefully we raise some funds to do some good."

Many of the children at the event were patients of Dr. Jason Canner, a pediatric oncologist at Advocate Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn. Canner also started the Cure It Foundation as a way to raise money for research.

The event typically draws about 1,000 people or more, organizers said. This year, firefighters and paramedics from departments in Chicago, Cicero, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Orland Park and Palos Township participated. Each fire department's team also had cancer patients serve as honorary captains.

"You get to see heroes of all shapes and sizes come together," said Kelly Murphy, a spokeswoman for Saint Xavier University.

Though the day is primarily meant to raise funds, Canner said the event also was planned for patients to "have fun and be a kid."

"I think it's awesome," said Jack Higgins, a 6-year-old from the Mount Greenwood neighborhood of Chicago, who has a form of leukemia and served as team captain for Midlothian.

"It's amazing," Higgins' mother, Kelly, said. "It really gets a whole community together... it's really about all the support that the community gives to a really, really great cause."

Kids also were treated to bouncy houses, inflatable slides, games and appearances by various Chicago sports team mascots and members of the Star Wars Midwest Garrison.

Continue Reading

The event also let some pediatric cancer patients who are now considered cancer survivors share hope with children currently going through treatment.

Gavin Clarke, 10, returned as honorary captain to cheer on his team made up of firefighters from the Palos Fire Protection District. Halfway through, the Plainfield boy was joking that his voice was going hoarse because of all the cheering he was doing.

"The kid's strong," said Kevyn Holdefer, a Palos firefighter. "He's got a lot of heart... how someone so much smaller in size has a bigger heart; but heart is not measured by body size."

Clarke hasn't had to have treatment for leukemia in three years. In between cheering on his team, Clarke took time to encourage others he talked to, including his fellow team captain, and shared his own story with people he met.

Clarke said he tells fellow cancer patients to "never give up. Never."

More information on the Cure It Foundation is at

The Daily Southtown, Tinley Park, Ill.

Alicia Fabbre
EMS personnel, their colleagues in healthcare and public safety, and the public are encouraged to provide input on the proposals outlined in the Straw Man document regarding the future of EMS.
The StethoSafe is a patent pending case that greatly extends the life of a stethoscope by quickly and easily protecting the head of a stethoscope.
First responders from around the country gathered to participate in a water rescue training program despite some of the instructors being deployed to hurricanes Harvey and Irma rescue efforts.
The First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grant will provide training and other resources to assist paramedics, law enforcement and health workers to prevent and treat opioid addiction.
The Department of Health granted $300,000 to the San Bernardino to purchase a mobile Class B fire simulator to replace the decade-old one.
About 70,000 people were still without power due to Irma before Maria made contact with the island, and experts are predicting 175mph wind gusts and flash flooding during the worst of the storm.
The quake ironically struck on the anniversary of a 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in Mexico City.
Since 1975, Crestline has firmly established itself as a trusted industry leader and innovative manufacturer of high quality products in the Specialty Vehicle industry.
Dominica was hit by 155mph winds, causing flooding and structural damage, and is expected to grow stronger before hitting the Virgin Islands already devastated by Hurricane Irma.

A bus driver with a record of drunk driving crashed into another bus after speeding through an intersection in Queens, New York City, resulting in 3 deaths and multiple seriously injured patients. 

The new devices replace aging ones, allowing paramedics to provide better patient care and communicate more efficiently with the hospital.
With a nationwide rise in active shooter and MCI scenarios, Broward County is bolstering the protection of its firefighter-paramedics.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded an additional $144.1 million in grants to prevent and treat opioid addiction in support of President Trump’s commitment to combat the opioid crisis.
The guidelines were created as a resource to be used or adapted for use on a state, regional or local level to enhance patient care.
NIOSH and NHTSA offer a new fact sheet based on recent research.