Teen Firefighter Trainee Battling Cancer—With Some Help From His Friends
Sixteen-year-old Timothy Richardson is on leave from the Hy-View Fire Company’s Explorer program, while he fights leukemia—in a different shirt every day.
Timothy is the son of a firefighter, and all he has ever wanted to do with his life was to follow in his dad’s footsteps—risking his own safety to help others.
“Knowing that people are on their worst days, just knowing that, and you can help them in their worst times, it really just gives you a sense of pride,” Timothy told WGRZ.
It will be a while before Timothy resumes his fireman training, though.
Timothy will be spending a lot of time flat on his back in a hospital bed while chemotherapy drugs are pumped into his body to battle the cancer cells.
The Maryvale, New York High School junior will spend the next month in Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. He will be under treatment for a total of about two years.
Timothy could have asked for any kind of help. He could have asked for money, free transportation and lodging for his parents, anything. His fellow firefighters would have happily done whatever they could.
What kind of help has he asked for? T-shirts.
While he’s in the hospital, Timothy hopes to be able to wear the shirt of a different firehouse every day.
“I put the feelers out, town of Hamburg, town of Amherst, West Seneca, anybody that I knew and the outpouring has just been phenomenal,” said Hy-View safety officer and Explorer advisor Joe Lent told WKYC.
“I didn’t expect anything less. Timmy’s going to have a lot of shirts to wear.”
Richardson’s father, Matthew is a firefighter at U-Crest Fire Company in Cheektowaga. His sister Michelle, 19, is a former firefighter Explorer. Now Timothy is learning that all firefighters are part of his family.
“He knows he has his brotherhood of the fire department behind him,” Timothy’s mother, Deanna, told WKYC.
From a Runny Nose to a Dangerous Disease
Timothy’s ordeal started on Feb. 15 when he had a doctor check out what looked like a sinus infection, according to his Facebook page.
He was back in less than a week with swollen glands in his neck.
A series of biopsies over the next few weeks eventually revealed the dreaded diagnosis: the teen had leukemia.
Doctors are adamant that Timothy has leukemia, not lymphoma. Leukemia is much more easily treatable.
His Facebook page, “Timmy’s Battle,” says, “Timmy is allowed to have visitors and is encouraged to have visitors.” The family just asks that people call ahead to make sure he is feeling well enough at the moment.
For anyone who wants to send a T-shirt: Tim’s size is mens XL and his address is:
Timothy Richardson at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital
818 Ellicott St Buffalo NY 14203
ATT: J 12 South