North Shore Rescue rallies behind volunteer medic in 'fight for his life'
Published Monday, December 7, 2015 1:44PM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 7, 2015 1:51PM PST
Every week, North Shore Rescue members pull out all the stops to help strangers lost in the wilderness. Now, they’re calling on strangers to help rescue one of their own.
Jay Piggot, a 34-year-old volunteer medic and helicopter team member, was recently diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
What’s worse, the married father-of-two learned the tumour, located near his liver, has already become so massive that it’s inoperable in its current state.
“It was just devastating to our family,” Piggot said Sunday.
The one silver lining, Piggot added, has been the outpouring of support from his fellow search crew members. He compared their response to his diagnosis to the end of the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
“These guys have all shown up and it’s been unbelievable,” he said. “The strength they’re giving me to focus on fighting this is next to none.”
That support has included everything from joining Piggot at hospital, babysitting his six- and nine-year-old boys, walking his dog, putting up Christmas lights at his home, and even raking his leaves and trimming his hedges.
Unfortunately, his family needs more help than his teammates can offer.
Though Piggot’s loved ones are hopeful chemotherapy will shrink his tumour to the point it can be surgically removed, treatments could have him off work for as long as a year.
Piggot normally puts in full-time hours as a paramedic with the B.C. Ambulance Service, but said because he’s classified as a part-time employee he’s not entitled to any sick leave or long-term disability coverage.
To ensure the family is financially stable, North Shore Rescue has set up a fundraiser to help throughout his treatments, and members are asking the public to chip in.
“We are asking the community to rally around Jay and his family and contribute to the Rescue the Rescuer trust fund that will allow Jay and his family to focus on their fight with cancer,” team leader Mike Danks said.
“Jay’s in a fight for his life here, and we really need everyone to step up.”
By Monday afternoon, the campaign had already raised more than $40,000. To contribute, visit any branch of BlueShore Financial, or visit the Rescue the Rescuer website.