April 28, 2011 |
With 180 full time employees, and another 70 part time employees, the City organization is going to have personal tragedies strike just like any other workplace. And we’re in the midst of one right now as one of our own is confronting cancer.
It turns out that cancer doesn’t care if you work in the public sector or private sector and we’ve come to know that all too well as City employees have rallied around Firefighter Don Beckett who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January of this year.
The prognosis is not great but no one lets that get in the way right now. Now is the time to stay focused and help Don take this thing head on — which Don has done with remarkable energy, persistence and grace under pressure.
It doesn’t make it any easier but it would seem that Don’s training with life and death threatening situations has prepared him well for his own situation. It’s hard not to admire Don’s attitude and his very public discussion of his health condition.
Under different circumstances I think we’d point to Don as a great example of how to handle life’s greatest challenges but at this point I think we’d all prefer to not have him tested like this and go back to being his healthy self.
If there is anything good to come of Don’s health troubles, it’s shown that when you spend a career giving to the community, the community gives back. Community members have stepped up to fill the gaps (financial and otherwise) that this disease has brought to Don and his family.
From organizing a trip to watch his beloved Ohio State football team compete (and win!) in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, to helping pay his mounting medical bills, the community has demonstrated a sense of urgency for Don’s condition that again, if under different circumstances, would be heartwarming.
The latest local company to pitch in is Don Joseph Toyota. Don Joseph is donating a dollar for every person that “friends” them on Facebook and then writes “Team Beckett” on their Facebook wall. They will donate up to $2500 and if they reach their goal, Toyota will match it and the amount will be $5000 that they donate to the Don Beckett (Kent Fire Fighter) Be Well Account!!! Please help out by adding Don Joseph Toyota to your friend list and write “Team Beckett” on their wall!
For those that want to follow his progress, Don has created a health blog which he updates frequently with news of his treatments and response. Don’s Blog
Don’s surrounded by great family and friends but he could always use more. If you want to help, contact Firefighter Brock Murphy to see what you can do. Brock’s email address is Murphyb@kent-ohio.org.
Don's Health Blog
Don, pictured with his wife, receiving the 2010 Firefighter of the Year Award