SUGAR GROVE – St. Charles firefighters are helping raise money for a 10-year veteran of the St. Charles Fire Department who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Lt. Darin Peterson is helping organize the fundraiser for fellow firefighter paramedic Don Fruland, a Somonauk resident who was diagnosed about three months ago with stage IV nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
“Basically, it started as a bloody nose that wouldn’t stop,” Peterson said.
After an MRI, doctors found a cancerous tumor growing in Fruland’s sinuses. Because the form of cancer is rare, Peterson said many of Fruland’s treatments are experimental and therefore very expensive.
“Originally when [doctors] looked at it, they hadn’t seen anything like it,” Peterson said. “It was a real grim outlook at first, but with the miracle of medicine, he’s been doing a great job of fighting it off.”
To help offset Fruland’s medical costs, a fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, 42W635 Ke De Ka Road, Sugar Grove.
Auctions and raffles are planned, as well as live entertainment by a band called 1 Sam 10.
Peterson said the fundraiser will be a family-oriented event with an inflatable moon jump, firetruck displays and a helicopter landing at 2 p.m.
More than 70 items have been donated for the auction, including hotel packages, tickets to see the Chicago Bulls from the skybox in 2014 and a Lake Michigan fishing charter boat trip.
Fruland, 43, lives in Somonauk with his wife, Katy, and his two children, Donny, 10, and David, 5.
Peterson said firefighters have rallied behind Fruland since they found out about his diagnosis. He said because Fruland has used up most of his sick leave, some firefighters have voluntarily given their vacation days to him.
“He’s truly what everyone on the fire department would consider a brother,” said Peterson, adding that the city of St. Charles has been supportive of Fruland. “He’d give the shirt off his back to help somebody.”
If you go
What: Fundraiser for St. Charles firefighter paramedic and Somonauk resident Don Fruland, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer
When: 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, 42W635 Ke De Ka Road, Sugar Grove
Cost: $20 a person and $50 a family; covers entry, food, beverages and live entertainment
In addition to the fundraiser, a fund has been set up to help with Don Fruland’s medical expenses. Donations can be sent online through PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to: St. Charles FFs L3322, c/o Don and Katy Fruland, P.O. Box 25, St. Charles, IL 60174.