Friends and family of a search and rescue volunteer and paramedic stricken with a rare cancer have launched a Rescue the Rescuer campaign.
A father of two, Jay Piggot is fighting cholangiocarcinoma, an aggressive cancer of the bile ducts. He also has a large tumour on his liver.
So, his colleagues stepped in to help out, raising more than $104,000 in just a few weeks to help Piggot pay the bills while he undergoes treatment.
“It’s truly amazing. I constantly have to check in with myself because it’s just that cool,” Piggot told CTV.
Loved ones hope chemotherapy will shrink his tumour so it can be surgically removed, but the treatments could have him off work for a year.
Piggot works as a B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic, but because he’s a part-time employee, he’s not entitled to sick leave or long-term disability.
Making matter tougher, he and his wife have two sons, six and nine, the oldest of whom has autism spectrum disorder and needs significant financial and family support.
But, the kindness of strangers has exceeded all expectations, says Piggot.
Fundraising events have included a sold-out screening of the new Star Wars movie.
"The community really stepped up and showed that they care about Jay,” Curtis Jones, a North Shore Rescue volunteer, told CTV.
Bracing for chemotherapy, Piggott says: “I want to just keep being strong and being a positive role model ... I’m trying to get as much positive family time in as possible. My wife and I and our family are so grateful for all the support. We never imagined this support in our wildest dreams.”
– with files from CTV Vancouver