A local firefighter is wining the fight against cancer.
"Big Jim" Rogers, 49, was diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia -- Moderate Progressive (positive) Hodgkin's Disease -- in October 2008 while seeking medical treatment for a work-related arm/shoulder injury that wasn't healing properly.
"Something like this could happen to anyone," Rogers recently told The Brazil Times during his participation in the mock accident at Northview High School. "But I'm feeling good right now."
According to Rogers, his Type Two, Stage Two cancer is in 70-percent remission and he's still fighting.
"I'm going to have surgery soon because the radiation and chemotherapy treatments have damaged one of my lungs," Rogers said in his normal jovial tone.
Doctors hope to have the disease in complete remission before fall. However, a side effect of his reduced lung capacity is Rogers having to move to warmer climates during the winter months.
"But I can live with that," he said with a smile. "It's better than the alternative."
Humor, honesty and community service are big parts of Rogers' life.
Coming from an Irish family of emergency responders, Roger was happy to be included in the prom/safety awareness activities at Northview. He portrayed the inconsolable father of the fatality victim during the mock accident, his daughter Katie Rogers.
"I'm proud to take part in this event," Rogers said about becoming active again in his life. "This is very important. (Katie) may have been the fatality today, but she gets up after this is over and I get to hug her. I hope this message gets through to one of these students. No parent should have to say goodbye to their child because of a car accident."
Community involvement and helping others is important to the Rogers' family.
"These are the types of things that matter, trying to reach out and help others," Rogers said. "I was raised to believe that you just gave of yourself to the community. It makes you feel good."
During his lengthy career, Rogers has worked for many emergency response agencies, including Operation Life, Lance Ambulance Service, Putnam Parke Clay (PPC) Ambulance Service, Wishard Ambulance Service, United LifeCare (Parke Co.), Clay County Search and Rescue and Posey Township and Reelsville Township volunteer fire departments.
Although Rogers continues treatment for his cancer, he refuses to give up hope. He plans to return as a safety instructor at Clay County Search and Rescue in the future.
"I've been fortunate to work with some really great people," Rogers said.
Many of those "family members" and friends rallied to support Rogers and his family through a tough year.
"I can't begin to tell you how honored and appreciative I am for all the help from everyone this past year," an emotional Rogers said. "It meant so much, saying thank you isn't enough."
Organizers of the 2010 Clay County American Cancer Society Relay For Life would like to honor all cancer survivors and their caretakers during a Survivor Ceremony at the event scheduled for May 22-23, at the Clay County YMCA.
To register as a survivor or receive more information about participating in the 2010 Clay County American Cancer Society Relay For Life, contact Event Chair Janice Piatt (812-442-9785) or Event Vice Chair Carrol Evans (812-442-0505) or log on http://www.relayforlife.org/claycountyin.