Relay for life

Posted by Admin on 21 November 2010 | 0 Comments

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A team of Montrose firefighters has banded together around one of their own during his hour of need.

CFA Relay team shotThe group has taken time out of their intense pre-summer training schedule to take part in the Cancer Council's Relay for Life for brigade member Dean Martin who is battling duodenal cancer.

Eleven of Mr Martin's brigade mates took up the challenge of participating in the 18-hour event to be held this weekend at Norton Road Athletic Park in Croydon.

Relay for Life team captain Ryan Smith said the initial link between the event and Mr Martin's diagnosis was coincidental. "Not long after Dean was diagnosed we discovered the Maroondah relay event," he said.

"I've participated in two relays before so I know what sort of positive affect they can have."Mr Smith said the brigade members who participated in the relay would come away inspired and feeling a sense of accomplishment.

"It's a way of showing support so we don't feel quite as helpless," he said. "We've also held a working bee at Dean's house to help him and his family out with the gardening and cooking. "Just anything we can do to help." The timing of the relay event wasn'tthe only coincidence surrounding Mr Martin's battle.

Mr Smith works as a medical physicist at The Alfred's radiation therapy department. He treats patients battling cancer and aims to provide them with "quality assurance".

"It does have its moments of tragedy but it's a truly inspiring job," he said. Mr Smith has worked in his current role for the past 13 years and said: "I appreciated what Dean was about to go through with his treatment.

"I just tried to give him clarity on the technical terms like what radiation therapy involves - the reactions and the symptoms. "The treatment normally runs for a number of weeks and the fear of the unknown can seem pretty daunting." Duodenal cancer starts in the small intestine and is related to gastric and colorectal cancer.

Mr Smith said Mr Martin's diagnosis was a shock to everyone within the brigade.

"He's only in his early 40s," he said. "You don't expect someone so young to get cancer but statistics show that everyone knows someone or has a family member with cancer."

Mr Smith said his friend was someone who could be relied upon within the brigade. "Dean is like a father figure within the group," he said. "When I started, he showed me the ropes and was really a fantastic mentor."

Mr Martin started with the Springvale brigade in 1998 before moving on to Montrose in 2005.

Mr Smith said the Montrose brigade's participation in the relay event "meant an enormous amount" to Mr Martin and his family. "He has been really thankful, overwhelmed and totally appreciative of the cause," Mr Smith said.

The Montrose team will set off on their run for Mr Martin at 4pm this Saturday and will finish at 10am the next day. Their relay baton will be a firehose branch. Readers wishing to donate to their cause can visit www.victoria.relayforlife.org.au for more information.