Laurel firefighters show support for cancer-fighting teammate - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Laurel firefighters show support for cancer-fighting teammate

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Laurel Fire Department's Rick Gallegos Laurel Fire Department's Rick Gallegos

Laurel Volunteer Fire Department firefighters are using stickers to show support for one of their own battling cancer. 

Rick Gallegos says the Laurel Fire team is his second family, as he's worked with the department for 17 years. So when Gallegos was diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, his fire family wanted to help. 

Laurel Fire Captain J.W. Hopper thought of a way for firefighters to show support for Gallegos's battle and carry his fighting spirit as they fight fires: stickers. 

After a trip to Dynamic Design, Hopper returned with personalized stickers displaying a light blue ribbon for prostate cancer and letters symbolizing Gallegos's last name. The stickers were added to each firefighter's helmet, as well as equipment in the emergency vehicles that accompany them to calls. 

"Now if he's not on the call with us, we'll always remember him when we look at the sticker," Hopper said, "we still take him with us." 

"No one has ever done anything like that for me in my life," Gallegos said, "it was pretty cool." 

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men, behind skin cancer. 

In 2016, there are nearly 180,900 new cases of prostate cancer reported, and statistics show that 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. 

As Laurel firefighters continue to raise awareness for the disease, Gallegos urges the community to also take action and get regular check-ups.

"This stuff creeps up on you, and you just don't know, " Gallegos said, "have everyone checked."

Laurel Fire Department also continues efforts towards breast cancer awareness this month using a special pink t-shirt design, pink helmets, and other displays of support for a community fighting cancer. 

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