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Community helps firefighter fight cancer: 'It’s our turn to try and help him'

Posted at 3:59 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 10:19:05-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- He dedicated his life to saving others, now Petersburg firefighter Sgt. Michael Clark believes a trial cancer treatment could save him.

Doctors first discovered Clark's Stage IV Colon Cancer in October 2019.

"I started feeling kind of crude," he said. "I couldn’t keep food down and started losing weight.  I lost 31 pounds in six weeks.”

Clark underwent 30 rounds of chemo in an effort to shrink the tumor that blocked the area where his small and large intestines came together. And while doctors were able to remove the tumor, Clark said some cancer remained in his abdomen.

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Clark is hopeful a clinical trial holds the key to extending his life, cancer-free.

"We are going to Envita, out in Phoenix, Arizona and they do not participate in insurance because they do a lot of experimental trials," Clark's girlfriend, Andrea Whichard, said. "[The cost] could be anywhere up to $120,000.” 

Without treatment, doctors gave Clark about three years to live.

“It hasn’t been FDA approved," Clark said. "But they’ve had good success with it.”

Clark and his family set up a GoFundMe account to help cover the costs of the potentially life-saving trip.

"He has saved many lives, now I think it’s our turn to try and help him," Whichard said.

Andrea Whichard.png

Clark is scheduled to leave for Arizona next week to undergo two days of consultations and tests. Eight to 12 weeks of chemotherapy would follow.

"My goal is to get back on a fire engine. That’s where I’m headed, that’s where everything is headed," he said. "I've missed it so bad."

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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