Meet our Newest Blogger: Don Beckett
The Kent firefighter battling cancer updates us on his condition in his first blog for Kent Patch
Don slowly peeled and ate an orange while I interviewed him about his battle with esophageal cancer — a condition that makes eating incredibly painful.
I was struck by the fact that this man was fighting a raging internal battle with his own body, yet he was still working full-time as a firefighter-paramedic in Kent. It's a job that can wrench you out of bed at 3 a.m. and send you to an accident scene or into a burning building.
I remember asking myself if I could continue to do a job where people may rely on me for their lives when I'm battling for my own. Sure enough, in the middle of our interview the department's call tones rang out and Don had to jump on a fire truck and speed away to some emergency.
Since that January interview, Don's cancer battle forced him to leave the job he held for 22 years.
If you read Kent Patch, then you've met Don before. We've tried to update you each time the community rallied around him and his family.
We first wrote about Don, after that first interview, shortly after friends at the fire department helped send him and his wife Heidi to see the Ohio State University Buckeyes play in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. We let you know when Home Savings Bank established the Don Beckett Be Well Account so community members could help the family with its health care financial burdens. We broke the news when Don Joseph Toyota helped raise $2,500 for the Beckett family, and we showcased the reverse raffle put on by the fire department for Don.
Don's been very open about his fight, and it came as no surprise to me when I saw Don was writing his own blog about his battle. It seemed only natural to ask Don to write for our Local Voices blog, and he agreed.
My goal in asking Don to blog, as is his hope, was to help educate people about a disease that affects millions of people around the world. And, as Don put it, "If this information helps one person, then it is all worthwhile!"
Let's give Don a big Kent Patch welcome by reading his first blog post and following him as he tells us about his fight.