Andy Valenta lost his battle to stage 4 metastatic melanoma after receiving the diagnosis in January. The firefighter was only 33 years old.
33-year-old firefighter Andy Valenta lost his battle to cancer, leaving behind his wife, Caylie Valenta, and two young daughters Lily, 4, and Grace, 2.
The California firefighter was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma earlier this year. By the time Andy received the news that the cancer had already spread throughout his body and he was admitted to the ICU for a secondary brain bleed.
Firefighter fighting a fire. | Source: Pexels/ Pixabay
LOSING THE BATTLE
A GoFundMe campaign was launched to help the Valenta family cover the medical expenses whilst Andy was undergoing very intense treatments. In the description of the fundraising campaign Andy is described as follows:
"Andy is a boisterous member of the Vista Fire Family, touching the lives of all around him through his infectious smile, positivity, and compassion."
Unfortunately, the treatment was not enough to save the firefighter's life as the Vista Fire Department confirmed Andy's death on Sunday in a statement released on social media.
The Vista city community rallied behind the Valenta family in the wake of the death of their patriarch, raising more than $80 000 in the first three days after the campaign was launched online.
Efren Medina died in his sleep during his very first shift as a firefighter. The Georgie native was found unresponsive in his bed.
After the news of Andy's death became public, the city's flags all hung at half-mast on Monday in honor of the firefighter's life and his service to the Californian community.
LOSS OF A FIREFIGHTER
The impact of Andy's death stretches further than his family, which is left in mourning. The Vista Fire Department shared that the firefighter's colleagues and the community were greatly touched by him. The statement reads:
"The loss of Andy has left a gaping hole in the Fire community and although time may heal; his lasting impact and memory will never leave us."
The 33-year-old was part of the city's fire department since 2009. His fellow firefighters mourn his death as they all wear mourning bands on their badges.
The firefighting community took another knock when 20-year-old Efren Medina died in his sleep during his very first shift as a firefighter. The Georgie native was found unresponsive in his bed.
Chief Tom Lackner revealed that the young firefighter had recently passed all of his physical and medical examinations before being appointed in the position he had dreamed about since childhood.
Medina had attended a house fire with his colleagues during the night and returned to the firehouse to sleep. When all of the firefighters woke up hours later, Medina remained unresponsive.
The 20-year-old left behind his wife, Brittany Vasquez. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the family with the funeral costs that are to come. It has raised more than $8000 thus far.