JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Putnam County firefighter Brooke Bateman has completed her final chemotherapy treatment, and firefighters from around the area on Monday showed up to support her as she was leaving MD Anderson in Jacksonville.
Bateman was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in July and had been undergoing bi-weekly treatments ever since. To celebrate her accomplishment, friends at her fire department organized a large gathering at the hospital.
“The set up was initially going to be just close friends and family, however, after talking to them, they thought it would actually be even better just to have as many people as possible just to let her know that we’re all here to support her,” said Chelsea Romanowiz, a Putnam County firefighter.
“It’s important for us to always try to bring, you know, the love and support that we can for people that are in our lives,” she continued. “Life is short, and so, I love being a part of something that’s so built on camaraderie”
As Bateman was released, she walked down a flight of stairs to meet her husband, who is also a firefighter. After an embrace, the two walked down a second flight of stairs to applause and hugs.
“It means a lot, because it just proves that the fire service is one big brotherhood and sisterhood, and it just means the world to me that they were all here to support me,” said Bateman.
“I just want to say how amazing the nurses and doctors at MD Anderson are,” she added. “Yhey truly mean the world and I wouldn’t have been able to get it through it without them.”
Putnam County Fire Rescue, along with other local fire departments and the community, pulled together to help offset some of the unavoidable medical costs and living expenses Bateman and her husband incurred throughout this long battle. They said they continue to search for ways to help their fellow first responder.