First responder continues work while fighting cancer

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ASHLEY, MI (WILX) -- He's been helping people in Gratiot County for years: whether it was at the scene of a car accident, a fire, or on the other end of a phone call.

Richard Hallman heads to the Ashley Fire Department, where he is a firefighter (source, The Hallman Family).

But now a man who has dedicated his life to public service is in need of help too.

Richard Hallman has done it all. he's been a firefighter, an EMT, and a 911 dispatcher. He's saved countless lives, but now he's fighting for his.

"One of my supervisors said I was even starting to look pale...ghostly. Eventually, I was able to chase it down. It took a while, but got the diagnosis for rectal cancer," Richard Hallman said.

Richard Hallman is 34, he's a father, he's active, he even survived and ambulance crash a few years ago. He isn't the type of person you would think could get sick. But here he was with stage four Colorectal Cancer.

"It's just been nonstop medical since then."

But even though Hallman is sick, that doesn't mean he can stop working. He has taken to receiving chemotherapy treatments for a few weeks at a time, and when they are done he heads back to work.

"I still have to provide for my family. The bills don't stop. They actually get worse with what's going on," he explained. "The fact that other people are dealing with this and other people have problems, that doesn't stop as well."

When Hallman was diagnosed, his father Charles decided to get check out too. Turns out, he had it too, but doctors were able to catch it in time. Charles Hallman (who was also a first responder) says it just doesn't seem fair.

"If it was going to be one way or the other...I'd rather have him be the one who gets the surgery and become healthy," Charles Hallman said. "You dedicate your life to helping other people, and when it comes around to needing help yourself, it comes up short."

The family hopes that other's will hear his story and get tested too--which could add to even more lives saved in a different way,

"I don't know if it's because I am red-headed or Irish-blooded, I'm very stubborn about receiving help. If you start feeling under the weather, start feeling pale, get tested. The earlier you can get it done is best. If you let it go on, you'll be in the same boat I am," Richard Hallman said.

Hallman says his doctors are seeing some improvement in his scans. Right now they are taking it day by day.

The Hallmans are having a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to raise money for medical bills. It will be held on Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Lansing.

If you would like to donate to help Hallman with medical bills, click here.

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