In April, Capt. Pate Powell of the Petal Fire Department was diagnosed with cancer, just six months after his wife, Caitlin, received the same diagnosis.
In the face of those diagnoses, the Friendly City community is coming together to help the couple, with the Petal Fire Department Benevolent Fund Association selling T-shirts to raise funds for the Powell family.
“Pate and Caitlin are just great people, and everybody that knows them loves them,” Fire Chief Joe Hendry said. “They’re a young couple, 30 years old, that has a 2-year-old baby (Beaux), and it’s quite a burden during the time (Caitlin) is being treated for breast cancer that Pate pops up with colon cancer and has to have a section of his colon removed.
“They’ve been under the gun, and we just want to support them all we can, and I know financial help is part of it.”
Pate underwent immediate surgery after his Stage 1 colon cancer diagnosis and is currently recovering at home. Although no further treatments are expected at this time, Pate is unable to work during his recovery.
Caitlin has undergone extensive treatment for breast cancer and will soon have surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“We’re just trying to get as much (funding) as possible, because they’ll be flying out to Houston in two weeks, and they’ll have to stay there for two weeks,” Hendry said. “Then we’ll find out about follow-up treatment and all of that.
“As of this time, Pate is done with his surgery and the doctors have assured him the scan was clear, and he’s just got to get checked every year now. But it threw a big spin on them when that came up.”
The T-shirts are $15 each and can be purchased at Fire Station 1 on Fairchild Drive, as well as Grand Central Outfitters, Carter’s Jewelry, Panther Pet Hospital and Petal City Hall. More information can be obtained by emailing petalfdba@ gmail.com or by calling (601) 705-0908 to speak to Katherine at the station.
“We actually raised a little money last year after Caitlin was diagnosed,” Hendry said. “We sold these pink ‘Support Breast Cancer Awareness’ T-shirts, and then we had a No-Shave November and a Don’t Shave December, and all those monies were given to them.
“And we gave them a nice little gift, but when you’ve got that much going on, and that many days away from work and all the different things that are associated with it, I’m sure they’ve got plenty of places where they can use it.”
In addition, funds from the fifth annual Chip N Fore Heroes Tournament, which will be held from 12:30-8 p.m. at Hattiesburg Country Club, will go to the Powell family.
More information on that event can be found at the Chip N Fore Heroes Facebook page.