ST. ANNE — Pink is considered to be a pleasant color, and it helped bring a most pleasant surprise to St. Anne last weekend.
Pink Heals Inc. is a volunteer grassroots organization which spreads “love and hope to people on a local level,’’ and the organization employs a special fire truck to help accomplish its purpose. On Saturday, the truck rolled into St. Anne, where a fundraiser was held for Carter Douglas.
Douglas, 21, was an 18-year-old senior at Kankakee Trinity Academy when he learned that a pimple-like tumor was Stage 4 cancer. The St. Anne resident is home to visit family and friends after a nine-month stay in Florida for an uninsured, experimental treatment, which shrunk a Stage 4 metastatic melanoma tumor on the left side of his neck.
He returns early this week for another tumor removal Oct. 9 after finding out the cancer had spread to the right side of his neck and into his clavicle. Doctors have said they’re in the 11th hour of the battle.
The Pink Heals truck made the trip to the St. Anne Fire Department, where Carter’s father, Tim, is the chief. Five pink-clad firefighters led a line of more than 20 area firefighters to greet the Douglas family with hugs. A Milford and an Aroma Park ladder truck strung an American flag overhead as a parade of departments from Beaverville, Herscher, Milford, Aroma Park and St. Anne rolled into town to show support.
St. Anne residents could be seen arriving by foot and car en masse from blocks away as the event started.
“He isn’t just a survivor. He is an overcomer,” Carter’s mother, Amy, said. “He is pressing forward to have a future, a career and life. He is choosing joy. He isn’t stopping life.”
Carter, upbeat on Saturday, thanked everyone who crossed his path for being there.
“I want to give back to the world and leave it a better place. I’m not done yet. I have more to do. I’m going to have a good future. I keep my hopes up.”
Those who missed the benefit event still can make donations to the St. Anne Fire Station at 190 N 2nd Ave., St. Anne, IL 60964, payable to the Douglas Family Fund, through the family’s benefit account at Riverside Credit Union in Kankakee, or their GoFundMe account (gofundme.com/f/carters-fight-to-live).