Brandon rallies behind cancer patient: Firefighters, colleagues raise funds for Harrison and his family
BRANDON — Adam Harrison has a lot to live for. With his partner Kristin Piper, he has a three year-old son, Booker, and a seven-week-old son named Shepherd.
In fact, it was two days before Shepherd was born, on April 3, when Harrison was told he has cancer.
He knew something was wrong a few weeks before, when he was working at New England Woodcraft and started coughing up blood.
It turned out to be testicular cancer, for which Harrison had none of the usual symptoms, and it had spread to his lungs and abdomen.
Harrison, 33, is undergoing intense chemotherapy for five consecutive days every two weeks at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. He has had two treatments and will have two more in the coming weeks. He is out of work for at least three months.
Now, Harrison’s brethren at the Brandon Fire Department are raising money for the former firefighter and his family. And this past Saturday, June 3, the BFD, also known as the Dunmore Hose Company, held a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and baked ziti dinner fundraiser to benefit Harrison and his family.
Harrison spent 14 years with the BFD, retiring in 2015 to spend more time with his young family. He was president of the Dunmore Hose Company before he retired at age 31.
“We’d really like to raise some money for him, especially since he has a new baby and a three-year-old,” Brandon Firefighter and Dunmore Hose Vice-President Mike Jensen said last week.
But the fire department isn’t the only place showing support for Harrison. His co-workers at New England Woodcraft have donated their own sick days and vacation days so Harrison won’t lose as much paid time.
A 2002 graduate of Otter Valley Union High School, Harrison and his family live on North Street in Forest Dale. Kristin Piper is a paraeducator at Salisbury Community School, and is also on leave to care for the new baby and now, for her partner Harrison, too.
Reached at home last week, Harrison said the support he and his family have received is overwhelming.
“It’s a lot more support than I ever imagined,” he said. “I never would have expected it, and it’s pretty humbling.”
He said he woke up one morning at home following an early surgery in April to see a load of asphalt in his driveway.
“Mike called and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll be over to take care of that,’” Harrison recalled. “Next thing I knew, there were a dozen guys in my yard. They did my driveway, cleaned the yard. I never would have been able to get to that. That was a very nice surprise.”
In addition, the fire department sent out fundraising letters in mid-May to all the members, former members and local businesses asking for donations of funds and/or services to benefit Harrison and his family.
The cancer has since moved to Harrison’s skin, and he now has two tumors on his face. The doctors told him he is only one of nine cases they know of where testicular cancer has spread to the skin.
Harrison remains upbeat, with two rounds of chemo completed and two more to go.
“It’s an aggressive treatment because it’s an aggressive cancer,” he said.
As for his former colleagues at the BFD, Harrison said it’s hard to express his gratitude.
“All the support has been appreciated more than they know,” he said. “It’s definitely humbling, all the help they’ve given me. It’s been … We aren’t ones to squander, we always have a little kept aside, but the fundraising has definitely taken a huge burden off, especially with the kids. We can breathe.”
To make a donation to Harrison and his family, contact Mike Jensen, Vice President, Dunmore Hose Company, at 802-779-7384.
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