JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Jeffersonville Deputy Chief Bruce DeArk has responded to dozens of potentially deadly fires, but he's now fighting a deadly disease.

In March, DeArk was diagnosed with colon cancer. It has been an unexpected battle, but DeArk is determined to save his own life and many others.

On Friday night, the veteran firefighter got some assistance from the community he serves and protects. Fellow firefighters, business owners and community members organized Bruce’s Bucket Brigade. The benefit was held to raise money and awareness about the risks of cancer for firefighters.

"It is something that you can't see,” DeArk said of this battle.

But it can be just as deadly as the fires DeArk has responded to over the years.

"It is inside of you, working inside of you," he said. "We are two months in. I've had three full treatments."

DeArk is fighting the cancer just like he fights fires: His goal is to save his life and others. But he is not by himself.

“The support is very overwhelming for me,” DeArk said.

This time, the community and fellow firefighters are responding.

"We wanted to do something to help, to raise money for the cancer treatments,” said Sgt. Justin Ames with the Jeffersonville Fire Department.

For the past few weeks, people, businesses and firefighters have been collecting and donating items to be auctioned at Bruce's Bucket Brigade on Friday night.

"We look at it as our deputy chief has helped save a lot of lives within our community, and you know now, the community is giving back," Ames said.

The roles may be reversed, or at least they're supposed to be in this case, but DeArk is still serving and protecting.

"Now that it is here, I want the platform to be awareness for people.” DeArk said. “I know of at least four or five guys that have went and got tested since this happened."

Donations can still be made at the Jeffersonville Fire Department.

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