OXFORD – 23-year old Todd Harvey has never been a member of the volunteer fire service in any capacity, but that isn’t stopping the Oxford Fire Department from spearheading the effort to raise money to help the young man battle life-threatening cancer.
Regardless of whether or not Harvey himself has been a part of the department, he is still part of the “family,” explained Oxford Fire Chief Ron Martin. He and the volunteer organization of which he is a part pride themselves in taking care of their own.
“If somebody needs help, we’re going to help them,” Martin said, explaining that while Todd Harvey is not a volunteer himself, he comes from a family with a strong tradition in the fire service. Take his grandfather, Bill Harvey Sr., for example, who was honored earlier this year for 60 years of service with the Oxford Fire Department. Todd’s father, Bill Harvey Jr., has been an active member of the department for 38 years. During that tenure, he served for 10 years as chief and has acted as a Chenango County arson investigator for 16 years.
“Todd is as much a part of the family as (his father),” said Martin, who he described as a “cornerstone” of the Oxford department.
It has been over a year since the Greene graduate was first diagnosed with melanoma, a life-threatening form of skin cancer, explained Oxford Emergency Squad Captain Mark Forrest.
While Todd initially responded well to treatments, Forrest said, earlier this summer he was told that the melanoma, which had started as a spot on his ear lobe, had metastasized to his lung. The young man is now undergoing a more aggressive form of treatment, known as interleukin-2 therapy, at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina.
According to online cancer treatment resources, this therapy involves the injection of cytokine, a protein normally produced by the body in small amounts. The cytokine works to boost the body’s T cells and other components of the immune system which then in turn attack the cancer cells.