Reaching out: a brotherhood of firefighters

Posted at 3:50 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 18:23:58-05

At 16 years old, Timothy Richardson already knows what he wants to do for a career. If you ask him that question, "a professional firefighter" is the answer you'll get.

Timothy is an Explorer with the Hy-View Fire Company in Cheektowaga. His father Matthew is a 20-year volunteer with the U-Crest Fire Department. For most of his life, Timothy has been around firefighting and the men and women who keep us safe.

"It's really just helping people," Timothy said. "The pride you get from that is really amazing."

In early March, Timothy was diagnosed with Leukemia, after being admitted to Oishei Children's Hospital. In his bed on the 12th floor, he had a goal for the time he would spend undergoing treatment: wear a different shirt from a different fire company every day.

His mom Deana set up Timmy's Battle, a Facebook page to get the word out about Timothy's dream. Timothy's sister Michelle manages the page while she's away at college. On Friday, March 2, Timothy received his first shirt. A week later, one day after his first treatment, he has enough to last him two and a half months.

On March 8, Timothy got a call from Antarctica with well wishes. Posts in Timmy's Battle had already popped up from fire departments in different states like Louisiana and California promising shirts. The next day, two bins full of gear came in the mail to his room. One of the packages on top was from Horseshoe Bay Fire Department in Texas.

It all started with Cheektowaga's U-Crest and Hy-View Fire Departments and their chiefs. Timothy has a fight ahead of him, but the support he's receiving from his brothers and sisters is keeping him in high spirits.

"I couldn't imagine anything like this," Timothy said. "It's nuts."

The Timmy's Battle page has all of Timothy's information to send him well wishes or even a shirt. His mom says she already knew the firefighter brotherhood was strong, but the outpouring of support from Western New York and around the country helps the family to never feel alone.