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'It's all about support for each other:' Bradford County Fire Rescue surprises firefighter at final cancer treatment

Lieutenant Jason Hersey is officially in remission after months of battling colon cancer.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man who spends his days fighting fires can finally put a different battle behind him.

Lieutenant Jason Hersey finished his final treatment for colon cancer Wednesday, surrounded by his fellow Bradford County firefighters.

"That's what brotherhood is all about," said Hersey.

Hersey has really felt the support of that brotherhood the past six months as he battled through cancer. After turning 50, Hersey's doctor told him it was time for a colonoscopy.

It revealed stage two colon cancer in July.

Through the surgery and recovery, his family of firefighters stood by him at every turn, including bringing both the Bradford County and Jacksonville Fire Departments to the cancer center to surprise him as he finished his treatment.

"Each and every one of them will probably tell you the same thing," said Hersey. "We're all just one, big, dysfunctional family. We all do our thing, but at the end of the day, it's all about support for each other."

Hersey's chief says the lieutenant took a few weeks off for the surgery, but was able to keep working throughout treatment.

"It's been very inspiring to see how he's never wavered through this whole thing, and he's battled from the start," said Bradford County Fire Chief Ben Carter.

Hersey's fight will have a lasting impact on how other Bradford County firefighters deal with cancer.

"We just officially partnered with Baptist, after seeing how Jason's been treated here and the process he's gone through, has been encouraging for me as a chief to say, 'We want to partner with these guys so if I have a firefighter battling cancer, this is the place for them to be,'" said Carter.

The lieutenant is officially in remission, and aside from having to come back for check-ups, there won't be anything standing in his way from serving his community.

"Don't ever quit fighting," said Hersey. "That's what it's all about."

In 2021 new recommendations for were issued lowering the age to start screenings for colorectal cancer.

The CDC now says adults age 45 to 75 should be screened.

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