Fire Chief Jeff Wilson was diagnosed with glioblastoma in January after having an MRI. He has since had surgery, removing the tumors from his brain and is now back to work at the Berkshire, Sunbury, Trenton and Galena Fire District.
“Having brain cancer is not bad,” said Wilson. “It’s when they find it.”
Wilson said he can do everything in his job, but drive vehicles and fight fires.
After Christmas Wilson said he started not feeling well. “I would literally feel like I couldn’t function,” he said. “I would go home at one or two in the afternoon.” Then a couple of days later it would start to happen all over again, he said.
Wilson met with his doctor who ordered tests. While in a waiting room after a CT scan the nurse told Wilson and his wife they needed to go to Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus at once.
“The nurse said, ‘go to the ER, they are expecting you,’” Wilson said. “It was 8 o’clock at night and we were driving down (State Route) 315 to go to Riverside.”
The next morning Wilson said he woke up in a hospital room with his wife and surgeon talking. Wilson asked, “What’d I miss?” The doctor pulled over a monitor to show Wilson an MRI of his brain.
“What had happened is a tumor had grown and pushed my brain two and a half centimeters over,” Wilson said. “It had started to filling up the space. It’s what caused the nausea and balance problems.”
Wilson said what was anticipated to be a four-hour surgery turned out to be eight-and-a-half hours.
Wilson said he was told the day of the his surgery there were about 100 people coming and going to check on him and his family. “A couple stayed the day,” he said.
Through it all Wilson said he has had great support from the B.S.T.G. fire district board and the community. “It still continues,” he said. “The guys here at the station have been fantastic.”
To help with medical bills, a 5K run is being organized by Dayna Stelzer, B.S.T.G. Lieutenant Kyle Stelzer’s wife. The event is May 6 at 10 a.m., starting at the The Big Walnut Grill on State Route 3 in Sunbury.
Stelzer said the 5K run is a noncompetitive, family-friendly event open to the community.
According to Stelzer, Wilson directed the T-shirt design and picked the date of the event.
Stelzer said there will be a one-mile loop for those who don’t want to go the full 5K distance. She said other fire departments have been invited to the event and they are bringing trucks for kids to see.
Registration is $25 for individuals (the cost includes a T-shirt); and $50 for families (the cost includes two T-shirts).
For more information or to enter the event, Dayna Stelzer can be reached through her email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 614-746-2702.
Wilson serves on the Delaware County 911 Board, is a past president of the Delaware County Fire Chief’s Association; a member of the Sunbury United Methodist Church and serves on the Economic Development Board of Sunbury.
Wilson said that about 500 people have signed up for the event. “There have been calls from out-of-town for hotels,” he said.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.