Fire department holding fundraiser for firefighter battling cancer

A firefighter who's spent decades saving lives is now fighting for his own.

47-year-old Chris Antonucci is a veteran of both the New Carlisle and Warren Township fire departments. But, he's recently had to step back a bit from his duties as chief at Warren Township and a firefighter in New Carlisle.

In August, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer. Since then, he's undergone chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Antonucci is continuing to focus on his treatment -- which takes just as much strength and courage as his job.

"The hardest part for me is the healing process," he said. "I'm still going through chemo and dealing with being nauseated everyday."

But, since the beginning of his battle, Antonucci's fellow firefighters have served as a support system.

Friday night, they spent hours getting the station ready for Chrisapalooza the following day. The event will raise money to help with Antonucci's increasing medical bills.

"It's truly called a brotherhood for one reason and that's because these guys will do anything for you," Antonucci said.

And, this isn't the first time New Carlisle's fire department has rallied around someone fighting cancer.

Two other firefighters have been diagnosed with different forms of the disease; Brandon Hora lost his battle with Stage 4 Non-smoking Lung Cancer last year.

"It's really difficult because it's close to home," said Brandon's father and fellow firefighter Steve Hora. "What's really interesting and really amazing is all of the firemen are here to help."

Chrisapalooza will run from noon to 1 a.m. Saturday.

There will be raffles, tip boards, wrist bands, sumo wrestling, T-shirts and a corn hole tournament starting at noon.

Bruno's Pizza is catering the event and beverages are being provided by United Beverage. There will also be music by Mongo Catz, Ready for This, George Ganes, Velvet Jones and DJ, Kenny Shipley.

Donations can also be made at any 1st Source Bank in the name of Chief Chris.

Antonucci says he's trying to stay optimistic about his recovery. He appreciates the support and generosity of his co-workers and community.

"My attitude from the start has been we're going to fight this as long as it takes," he said. "I have too much to live for."

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