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Community supports firefighter battling cancer

Posted at 11:20 PM, Nov 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 10:52:54-05

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — A local firefighter used to serving his community was on the receiving end of that Sunday afternoon.

Nearly 400 people gathered at Amore Trattoria Italiana Restaurant to help raise money for an Alpine Township firefighter who's battling cancer. Thomas Katerberg was recently diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer just two weeks after he got married. Those with the department say after learning about his diagnosis, they wanted to help any way they could, especially since the couple would like to have children.

"The conversation came up we didn’t know quite how to address it about the fact that they wanted to have kids," said Deputy Fire Chief Jeremy Kelly, "His insurance wouldn’t cover the fertility side of things. You know all of us pretty much have kids on the department and realize how important it was and wanted to kind of help him with some of those costs on the fertility side of things."

Katerberg said he was blown away by Sunday's turnout, "I mean the Alpine Township Fire Department has been great. They’ve been here since day one when I’ve been talking to the chief about the news and just the brotherhood they have. We’ve got Life EMS,  we’ve got neighboring fire departments that have come out here to support us and it’s been a great support that the community has for us."

Local farms and bakeries donated desserts to be sold at the fundraiser.

Katerberg says he has an appointment with his oncologist on Monday to see how his chemotherapy is going.

Sunday's event raised more than $7,000 dollars. Those who would still like to donate to the cause can send checks to :

Alpine Firefighters Association
841 Alpine Church Road
Comstock Park, MI 49221