When you’re in your twenties, you expect a lot of new experiences: Choosing a career, buying a home, or settling down with someone you’d describe as your better half—all of those experiences were put on hold for Javier Nanez when he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the age of 28.
Prior to diagnosis, Javier actively served the citizens of Cobb County as a firefighter for Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services. Almost three years ago, Javi made the biggest move of his life by relocating from San Jose, California to Marietta to accept the position. During his time with the county, he’s served at various stations, and is currently assigned to Station 19 — fittingly, they’re nicknamed “The Rock;” a name that proved its worth when the firefighters at the station (and throughout the entire county) stepped up to assist Javi in any way they could, particularly with the donation of blood products.
In October, 2016 Javier made an appointment with his general practitioner because he’d had bleeding of the gums and several bruises on his body that were refusing to heal. One particular bruise on his shin not only refused to heal, it appeared to be getting worse. In what seemed like a whirlwind of a day, Javier went from visiting his general practitioner to being admitted to Northside’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit under the suspicion of Leukemia.
On November 20th, after 25 days quarantined in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and receiving eight induction and high-dose chemotherapy treatments, doctors delivered the great news that they believed Javi was cancer free! Javi was able to return home with strict instructions to remain as quarantined as possible because he would be undergoing multiple outpatient maintenance chemotherapy treatments to insure the cancer would not return. And now, several months later, Javi is approaching his final outpatient chemotherapy treatment! Family and friends are excited to see Javi’s progress but know that it was not without Javi’s hard work, determination, and desire to unyielding fight a sickness that can be so devastating.
Kenneth L. McGuire:
Cobb County Fire Engineer Kenneth McGuire had not been out of his teenaged years for more than a month when he enlisted to serve in the United States Air Force, taking on the duties of a machinist and welder. Those hands-on skills were the catalyst for his desire to work for Delta Air Lines after his enlistment ended. Ken worked several years as a machinist with Delta prior to joining Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services in 2005, and still currently serves as a Georgia Air National Guardsman.
Since that time, Ken has worked as a frontline firefighter as well as attained the rank of Engineer. He’s served at several stations in his 12 years with Cobb County and currently is assigned to Station 5 in Vinings. Ken has been unable to work for the past several months—at only 40 years old, Ken was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
On the morning of December 9th of last year, Ken was stopping by his parent’s house to pick up his dogs when he had an observed seizure (his first ever). The Gwinnett County Fire Department responded and transported him to Eastside Medical Center in Snellville. CT scans and an MRI revealed an abnormal area in the left frontal lobe of his brain. A friend and fellow firefighter put him in contact with a respected local Neurosurgeon, Dr. Jim Robinson. After consulting with Dr. Robinson and going through numerous additional tests at Piedmont Hospital, Dr. Robinson believed that the abnormality was an Astrocytoma and would need to be removed via Craniotomy.
Dr. Robinson successfully performed surgery to remove the tumor only nine days after Ken was rushed to the hospital. With the tumor out, samples were sent for a full oncology workup; these tests identified the tumor as a Stage III Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Ken began radiation and chemotherapy treatments on Monday, February 20th at Northside Hospital and will continue them through the month of March.
During this entire process his wife of nine years, Tina, has never left his side—he’s most grateful for the support of his wife and entire family. The firefighter community, even beyond the borders of Cobb County, has also stepped up to assist Ken and his family, of which he’s also profoundly grateful.