Suffering from terminal most cancers, Itasca firefighter Frank Nunez will get particular escort as he heads to hospice care

CHICAGO (CBS) — A warrior – that’s what firefighters in suburban Itasca name their colleague, Frank Nunez.

As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Tuesday night time, the firefighter is going through terminal most cancers. On Tuesday night time, he received a particular escort from the hospital – again dwelling for hospice care.

Itasca Fire Chief Jack Schneidwind arrived at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to convey his buddy and devoted firefighter dwelling Tuesday. Nunez’s fellow firefighters have been at Northwestern as he battled most cancers for weeks – and so they got here out once more with their chief to point out love for a person who cannot combat anymore.

Nunez shouldn’t be in a position to communicate. But he wrote how he felt on at the present time on a dry erase board.

“We have volunteers that are coming in off duty to make sure that Frank is comfortable and has the honor of being in the back of the ambulance for the last time,” mentioned Chief Schneidwind.

In 2018, Nunez started serving the Village of Itasca proudly as a firefighter.

“He came in with a great attitude, wanting to make a difference to the people that we served,” Schneidwind mentioned.

A yr after becoming a member of the Itasca Fire Department, Nunez began having a pointy ache in his left leg. He was recognized with a uncommon type of comfortable tissue most cancers.

Nunez beat the most cancers and it went into remission. But it returned in 2021 in his left lengthy – and this time it was terminal.

Yet, Nunez saved working.

“He has not missed a day – and could have missed many, many days – but he came to work every single day,” Schneidwind mentioned.

Nunez labored till he could not anymore. And earlier than leaving the hospital for hospice, he married his girlfriend, Christina, at Northwestern.

The two met weeks earlier than Nunez’s analysis. He wrote on their marriage ceremony day: “I knew I would marry her. She was the ‘one.’”

But a lifetime shouldn’t be one thing they’ve – which is why this second Tuesday was key.

“Every so often, we get these phenomenal people like Frank, who you just know would walk in a room, and light up the room, and make everyone feel safe,” mentioned Dr. Khalilah Gates of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

That contains Nunez’s mom, who got here down the corridor to his bedside to say her goodbyes – from her personal hospital room.

Days in the past, Nunez’s mom acquired a stem cell transplant for leukemia on her son’s birthday. Both at the moment are unable to talk, and their farewell was expressed on a dry-erase board.

“There’s nothing sadder than obviously losing somebody – especially somebody young, so vibrant as Frank,” Schneidwind mentioned.

Nunez left Northwestern to a hero’s salute. The devoted first responder received loaded into the identical ambulance wherein he saved so many different lives of the years.

“It’s an absolute honor to take him on this ride,” Schneidwind mentioned, “but it certainly is heart-wrenching.”

Joining Nunez within the ambulance had been the love of his life, Christina, and proper by his facet, his beloved buddy – Max, their canine. Max hasn’t seen his buddy Frank for months and wanted to experience dwelling with him.

Max, Christina, and the complete household will stay by Nunez’s facet as he heads to hospice.

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