Lake firefighters raise money for one of their own

At Fire Station 4350 in Clermont, Karelys Reyes is purchasing a stack of pink T-shirts.

"We're going to pink it out!" she said.  "We'll wear the T-shirts and jeans, and we are buying bows."

Reyes works at a nearby restaurant, called Little Anthony's.  She and her coworkers all have theirs  reasons for buying these t-shirts.

"My mom passed away from cancer," she explained. "We want to find a cure."

This firehouse has sold shirts before, but this year it's different.  One of their own, firefighter Matt Stowell, was recently diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer in his neck area.  Stowell discovered a tumor while playing with his daughters and falling on the floor.

According to a local unions, fire departments nationwide are taking a closer look at the lack of protection around the neck in firefighters' uniforms.

"Firefighters are three times more likely to get cancer then regular citizens.  We are exposed to so many carcinogens," said Bryan Gamble, the president of Professional Firefighters of Lake County.  "The neck is most exposed part."

There's never a way to know for certain what caused a cancer.  For Matt's brotherhood, all that matters is that he overcomes the disease and joins them once again.  

Other stations throughout Lake county are raising money too.      

"Cancer is quickly becoming the number one cause of firefighter death on duty and through retirement. It's a big deal for us,"   said Erik Strange, the President of Clermont Professional Firefighters.

If you want to support the cause, you can go to Facebook page for the Clermont Professional Firefighters IAFF 4350.