- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - Three months ago Anthony Johnson received a diagnosis of Stage 2 rectal cancer. Today he was given a promising outlook from his oncologist, along with a check for $3,600.

The 58-year-old Rockford man served in both the U.S. Army and Marines and has undergone radiation and chemotherapy since August. He has been unable to find employment because of his condition but hopes to get back to work following his final treatments in January.

“I still can’t believe this,” Johnson said. “This is such a blessing.”

The money comes as a donation from members of Rockford Firefighters Local 413, who did a T-shirt fundraiser for breast cancer awareness month to honor two of their own members who died from cancer. They then contacted the staff at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in search of someone who could benefit from the funds.

Derek Bergsten, chief of the Rockford Fire Department, said this is just one example of how the firefighters give back to the community.

“It’s just a feeling that really warms you inside,” Bergsten said. “To be able to have a profound impact on an individual that truly has other things to worry about instead of what groceries to buy or medicine to buy, but rather focus on getting healthy.”

Johnson’s most recent scans show promising results, but in the meantime he said he’s grateful for the nurses and oncologists at OSF that have become his second family.

“This staff is unbelievable,” Johnson said. “They’re always bubbly, and they just make you feel comfortable. If I ever have to come to a hospital again, this is where I want to be.”

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Source: Rockford Register Star, https://bit.ly/2eq4jEO

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Information from: Rockford Register Star, https://www.rrstar.com

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