Augusta firefighters raise money for sick child

In March, 7-year-old Chris­to­pher Thompson found out his benign brain tumor was back. After months of chemotherapy, dozens of trips to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and getting a clean MRI, he found himself back at the beginning.

His father, Chris Thompson Sr., has been a Richmond County firefighter for 15 years. When he got the news about another round of chemo, his fellow firefighters decided it was time to help.

On Saturday afternoon, more than 100 firefighters and their families met at Fire Station No. 7 on Willis Foreman Road for food, music and a silent auction to help the Thompsons with their medical bills.

Thompson said Christopher’s spirits are high even though his energy is low. The boy spent most of the event by the dunk tank, where he dunked Richmond County sheriff’s Deputy Gabriel Garner with his curveball.

When he was not throwing, he was wheeling himself around in a small wheelchair.

“We’re tired,” Thompson said. “But our faith in the Lord is strong.”

Thompson said Christopher is an avid swimmer, which has been his therapy since being diagnosed in July. He also loves playing Guitar Hero on his Wii and riding his bike. Most of all, he is attached at the hip to his older sister, 11-year-old Brooke.

“They do everything together,” his father said. Christopher’s younger sister Kaelynn, 5, is also a big help.

Christopher understands what is happening to him, his father said. They decided on a localized chemo treatment, so the boy gets a needle straight into his short blonde hair.

“If he’s going to have a needle in his head, he’s going to know why,” the father said.

Lt. Randy Reese, also a neighbor of the family, raffled off his boat Saturday. The avid tournament fisherman said he acquired the boat last year, and he spent months cleaning and renovating it. When he was just about finished, Christopher’s diagnosis came back.

“It was something lying on my heart,” Reese said. “It’s going to a good cause.”

The silent auction included an hour flight with CSRA From Above, a tennis membership and golf bags.

Thompson’s supervisor, Capt. Jay Milton, said the community had come out in support of the cause when he and Chief Chris James decided they wanted to help.

“We decided we had to do something for this little boy,” Milton said. “The outpouring of donations has been great.”

He said if Christopher’s next round of chemo does not work, the next step is surgery, which is family is starting to prepare for.

“We want to be here and support this family,” Milton said.

Staff Writer Stephen Dethrage contributed to this report.

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