LANSING | It's not unusual to see firefighters hosting fundraisers for various causes, but members of the Lansing Professional Firefighters Local 3709 decided to dig into their own pockets in support of families dealing with a child suffering from cancer.
The members made personal donations and presented a check for $500 to the Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids Foundation, NICK Foundation, at their recent meeting. The group will also be wearing gold shirts during September for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The back of the shirts read "We wear gold for the heroes in OUR lives."
The donations to the NICK Foundation are being made in honor of Zachary Joseph Plant, a 1-year-old from Munster who recently lost his battle with cancer. Lansing Fire Department engineer/paramedic Tim Kotecki was a classmate of Zachary's father and uncle and suggested to his fellow firefighters the department do something in Zachary's honor.
About a year ago Zachary was diagnosed with Infantile Fibromyosarcoma. "It is a rare, aggressive, and angry cancer but that was not going to stand in Zachary's way," Kotecki said. "These children that will, that have, and that are facing the cancer battle are my true heroes. These children see and believe in hope, in innocence and in courage. They fight for their lives, but they are unaware of what they are fighting. But they don't give up. They stay positive through the hard days of chemotherapy, through radiation, through weeks or months of weakness, but they still stand tall and illuminate a smile from their face."
The Plant family requested that donations go to the NICK Foundation in Zachary's memory.
"They are an organization that is comprised of parents, family or people that have dealt with having a child with cancer. They support families with money, housing, and other things while they are traveling from hospital to hospital, or just trying to live a normal life," Kotecki said.
If you would like to make a donation to the NICK Foundation, you can do so on the website, http://www.nwicancerkids.org.
Pop tabs are also being collected for the Ronald McDonald house in Zachary's name. If 750 pounds are collected, a plaque/picture of him will be added to the wall at the Ronald McDonald house. If you would like to collect pop tabs to donate, they can be dropped off at Fire Station No. 2, 18249 Chicago Ave.