Photo Credit: Franklinville and Asheboro Fire Departments
ASHEBORO, N.C. -- A Randolph County man who has dedicated his life to helping others now needs some help of his own.
J Phillips is an Asheboro firefighter. He was recently diagnosed with Stage IV Salivary Gland Cancer. It's one of the rarest forms of cancer and less than 1 percent of Americans have this disease.
His fellow firefighters from around Randolph County are coming together to help Phillips pay for his mounting medical bills.
WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower spoke to Phillips and the people planning a benefit dinner and auction for him.
"To me personally, one of our own needs help," said Franklinville Fire Chief Kyle Dixon.
"We are like a family and when one of us feels bad, it seems that all of us do," said Asheboro Fire Chief Roy Wright.
"It's overwhelming, it's overwhelming," said J Phillips, Asheboro firefighter. "They've been helping me a lot."
It's tough for J Phillips to be on the receiving end of help. He's spent more than half of his life working as a firefighter, daily putting his life on the line for others. Even now as he is battling cancer, he's thinking about what others need.
"There [are] a lot of people out there that need help. There [are] a lot of people that's hurting and sick. Cancer is a bad disease," said Phillips.
Phillips' cancer has spread to his lungs.
"[Doctors] told me that they really couldn't stop it. That they were just going to try to control it."
Through it all, Phillips' kept his trademark positive attitude and selflessness -- making it easy for his friends and family to recruit support for a dinner and auction to benefit him.
"My cell phone is just burning up. What can I do? What do you need?" said his former mother-in-law Cindy Heaton.
"It's a little bigger than we thought it would be starting out," said Chief Wright.
Chief Dixon added, "We was asked to use the facilities because we had a big meeting room. I'm a little worried now it might not be big enough!"
"It just keeps coming in and it's overwhelming. I just want to say thank you to everybody that has had anything to do with it. Thank you for all the prayers, we're going to continue to fight it and we are going to be okay," said Phillips.
The money raised at the benefit will be used for medical bills and travel expenses. He's heading to Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment in December.
The barbecue dinner and auction will be held at the Franklinville Fire Department on October 26.
146 West Main Street
The dinner will begin at 3:00 p.m. and the auction will start at 7:00 p.m. Dinner is $8.00.
Prior to the benefit dinner and auction, there will be a benefit motorcycle ride.
Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. at Cox's Harley Davidson in Asheboro. The cost is $25.00 per bike.
WFMY News 2