‘Rescue the Rescuer’: $104K raised for volunteer medic battling cancer
Published Sunday, December 27, 2015 6:50PM PST
Last Updated Sunday, December 27, 2015 6:52PM PST
When North Shore Rescue volunteer and married father-of-two Jay Piggot was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, financial considerations were far from his mind.
That’s when his colleagues stepped up, launching the Rescue the Rescuer campaign and raising more than $104,000 in just weeks to help Piggot pay the bills while he undergoes treatment.
“It’s truly amazing. I constantly have to check in with myself because it’s just that cool,” says Piggot, 34. “It’s just amazing to have that kind of support.”
Piggot is battling cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer of the bile ducts, and has a tumour on his liver that is so large it’s inoperable in its current state.
“It was just devastating to our family,” Piggot told CTV News in early December.
He and his wife have two young sons, ages 6 and 9. The older of the two recently received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and needs significant financial and family support.
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 set up a fundraiser to help throughout his treatments, and members are asking the public to chip in.
Fundraising events are also being organized: on Sunday afternoon, a special sold-out screening of the latest Star Wars movie ‘The Force Awakens’ was held.
The kindness of complete strangers has exceeded all expectations, says Piggot, noting the original fundraising goal was $60,000.
“We didn’t think we would break $100,000…so this was truly amazing,” he says. “Crazy is definitely one of the words we threw around.”
"The community really stepped up and showed that they cared about Jay,” adds Curtis Jones, a North Shore Rescue volunteer. “The 'Rescue the Rescuer' Campaign has been an absolute success."
Now Piggot is bracing for chemotherapy treatments with his “absolutely phenomenal” team at the BC Cancer Agency, and is remaining positive therapy will shrink the tumour.
“I want to just keep being strong and being a positive role model…[and] I’m trying to get as much positive family time in as possible,” he says. “My wife and I and our family are so grateful for all the support. We never imagined this support in our wildest dreams.”
To contribute to the campaign, visit any branch of BlueShore Financial, or visit the Rescue the Rescuer website.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Julie Nolin