TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Darryl Murphy is used to saving other people's lives. Now he is in a fight for his own.
The veteran firefighter is awaiting a donor for a bone marrow transplant for a sickness, possibly caused by his service to this community.
In March, Darryl thought he was suffering from the flu and went to the hospital to find out it was pneumonia in both of his lungs. Doctors would later learn it was all because his white blood cell count was completely down due to a form of cancer: Acute Myeloid Leukemia or AML.
"I started thinking about my wife, my kids and leaving this earth with not completing what I want to complete in life along with my career and it was a very hurtful feeling," explained Lt. Darryl Murphy.
After learning about his diagnosis, Darryl and his wife Darla began doing research.
They found out AML is curable with a bone marrow transplant. Five of his siblings, his children and more were tested, none matched.
"They haven't found a donor as of yet," said Lt. Murphy. "So I am just at the mercy of someone coming forward and being a match for me."
Darryl has devoted his life to serving the Toledo area and that service could have been a cause for his cancer.
"We're not encapsulated," said Lt. Murphy. "We're not in a bubble we have to be able to perform a function. There have been cases where the AML has been connected with some of the things that we do so far as the cancer and the smoke and the carcinogens."
While legally that's still to be proved, Darryl says he's proud to be TFD.
Chief Santiago says working alongside him has been a pleasure and they will continue to support their brother.
"His approach to this is you know you can't always control the cards your dealt and we are going to try to help him in any way we can," said Chief Luis Santiago of the Toledo Fire Department.
Darryl is currently in remission, but must continue chemo until a donor is found. Both he and his wife pray a donor will soon step forward.
"I love my husband so much and I do want to continue to have him here with us," said Darla Murphy. "We would be eternally grateful for anyone that comes up to be that match."
With multiple appointments a week in Michigan and time off from work, family and friends of the Murphys are helping them financially with a benefit on June 22 to help a family who has helped so many others.
The benefit will be held at the Strawberry Acres Park Pavilion, 950 S. McCord Rd., in Holland. The benefit will go from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. and will feature a fish fry with other options as well.
Darryl, a 28-year veteran with the Toledo Fire Department, remains positive in his fight against AML. He says he feels blessed to have a cure and a strong support system in his family and the fire department. Now he and his wife want to advocate for others about the importance of bone marrow donation.
"There are resources that need to be given to other people to help other people because I am not the only one and I'm not going to be the only one," explained Lt. Murphy. "That's what's kept me positive that I can spread this message to help others. That's what's kept me positive as well as the career that I have been in, it has helped me to learn how to give and give of myself."
His wife Darla is actually working on creating a bone marrow bank in the area to help not only her husband, but others in his situation.
"Anyone of us if we have an opportunity to bless someone else and save a life it should be the first thing we do," stated Darla Murphy. "It doesn't have to be your personal family it can be a neighbor or a friend, you never know when it may come to your door."
The Murphy's stress that the process has changed, is simple and can save lives. They say if you are unable to donate, you can volunteer to the cause or even just spread the word.
Darryl has a doctor's appointment on Thursday, where he will find out if he has a match or has to undergo another round of chemo. We'll be sure to keep you updated.