Some say cancer spreads like wildfire. One Lenexa fireman is fighting his blaze not with hoses and ladders but faith, family and friends.
Mike Wells is just 38 and a married father of three. He’s far too young to face a deadly cancer diagnosis, but with family, faith and the fire service brotherhood behind him, he’s determined to defy the odds.
A fire jacket, hat and boots are tucked away in a locker at the Lenexa Fire Department. It’s gear Mike Wells has proudly worn for over 13 years.
“You know Mike is a highly respected individual in this organization. I don’t know that there`s anybody here who would have anything bad to say about him,” said Travis Vaughn, deputy chief with the Lenexa Fire Department.
For the past few weeks, the fireman hasn’t been able to suit up as he faces a whole new fight against cancer that’s invaded his esophagus, liver and lymph nodes.
“We’re devastated, but you know, Michael is so positive. The first thing out of his mouth is, ‘We’re going to beat this,'” said Wells’ wife, Katie Wells.
“I’ve been a fighter my whole life and I’m not going to roll over easy,” Mike Wells said.
His determination is inspiring everyone who knows him to do all they can to help.
“We are all in to let them focus on the fight against this cancer and we’re going to try and eliminate all the distractions we can by being the support,” Vaughn said.
The wealth of support from all walks of their lives and a deep faith has helped them through even the darkest days.
“Faith in God has been what’s able to get us out of bed in the morning and just our support system and just people coming, almost out of the woodwork to want to help us,” Katie Wells said.
“I never thought I’d be on the receiving end of it. You always kind of plan on being on the helping end. It hasn’t been easy, but the amount of support I’ve gotten from those guys has just helped carry me through all that,” Mike Wells said.
Mike’s even picked a unique motto for his fight from a popular movie, “Good Will Hunting,” to “choose the wrench.”
Even with a deck seemingly stacked against them in the fight against cancer, this family knows they have the tools to win an otherwise impossible war.
“To me it just kind of says, I’ll take the worst beating you can give me and I’m going to keep coming back tomorrow and choose the wrench again and again because you’re not going to beat me,” Mike Wells said.
The Lenexa Fire Department is planning a special benefit for the Wells family later this month.
And Dec. 8 from 6-11 p.m., there’s a community fundraiser being held at St. Therese North Good Shepherd Hall. Tickets are $25. The evening will include a fund-a-need program, live and silent auction.