SUGAR GROVE – St. Charles firefighters are helping raise money for a 10-year veteran of the St. Charles Fire Department who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Lt. Darin Peterson is helping organize the fundraiser for fellow firefighter paramedic Don Fruland, who was diagnosed about three months ago with Stage IV nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
“Basically, it started as a bloody nose that wouldn’t stop,” Peterson said.
After an MRI, doctors found a cancerous tumor growing in Fruland’s sinuses. Because this form of cancer is rare, Peterson said many of Fruland’s treatments are experimental and therefore very expensive.
“Originally when [doctors] looked at it, they hadn’t seen anything like it,” Peterson said. “It was a real grim outlook at first, but with the miracle of medicine, he’s been doing a great job of fighting it off.”
To help offset Fruland’s medical costs, a fundraiser is set for 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, 42W635 Ke De Ka Road, Sugar Grove.
Auctions and raffles are planned, as well as live entertainment by the band 1 Sam 10. Peterson said the fundraiser will be a family-oriented event with an inflatable moon jump, firetruck displays and a helicopter landing at 2 p.m.
More than 70 items have been donated for the auction, including hotel packages, tickets to see the 2014 Chicago Bulls from a skybox and a Lake Michigan fishing charter boat trip.
Fruland, 43, lives in Somonauk with his wife, Katy, and his two children, Donny, 10, and David, 5. Peterson said firefighters have rallied behind Fruland since they found out about his diagnosis. He said because Fruland has used up most of his sick leave, some firefighters have voluntarily given their vacation days to Fruland.
“He’s truly what everyone on the fire department would consider a brother,” Peterson said, adding the city of St. Charles has been supportive of Fruland. “He’d give the shirt off his back to help somebody.”
In addition to the fundraiser, a fund has been set up to help with Fruland’s medical expenses. Donations can be sent online via PayPal to email@example.com or mailed to: St. Charles FFs L3322, c/o Don and Katy Fruland, P.O. Box 25, St. Charles, IL 60174.