Each day the firefighters of our department throw on turnout gear and jump on firetrucks ready to protect property and save lives. It is a call to help others through personal sacrifice that motivates them when they come to work.
That same call is now pushing one of our members to make a huge sacrifice to better the life of a woman battling cancer.
“From the beginning my wife and I knew this was something we could do,” said Firefighter Chastain Cannon, “You know either you wanna do it or you don’t wanna do it and for me this something I felt I could do.”
Firefighter Cannon and his family are currently getting ready for a major procedure that is expected to impact his life for at least the next six months.
At the end of October Cannon will be heading to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York to undergo surgery which will remove a large portion of his liver. Cannon will be donating that section to Scarlet Lutz Kasperbauer, who has been living with cancer for the past five years.
Kasperbauer is also the sister of two other members of Columbia Richland Fire. Her father also worked for the department.
“It’s a big sacrifice…not everybody would say ‘yeah…I’ll take six months out of my life for your sister,’” said Engineer Jordan Lutz, who works with Cannon on Rescue 2. “It’s a real big deal. We’re very grateful he’s stepping up.”
Firefighter Cannon first met Scarlet Kasperbauer through the Lutz family and over the years has been following her journey through treatment. According to her family, the cancer began in her colon and later spread to her liver. A liver transplant would hopefully eliminate the disease for Scarlet as she is now cancer free in her colon and other areas.
The liver is one organ that can regenerate on its own but the Lutz family says in Scarlett’s case having a donor is essential due to the current condition of her liver.
“This is the only thing they can do,” Lutz said.
Firefighter Cannon said he first heard about Kasperbauer’s need for a donor when she posted information on Facebook. After going through a series of tests he was cleared to have the procedure.
Following his surgery in Rochester, Cannon will likely have to stay in upstate New York recovering for at least a month.
According to the Cannon family insurance should pay for the surgery and medical expenses but they will need assistance with travel expenses to New York as well as lost wages while he is out of work after the operation.
A Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser has been organized to help the Cannon family. It will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at 124 Oak Street, West Columbia. The venue is located in South Congaree.
A gofundme page has also been created to support the Cannon family. You can visit it by clicking here.