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Corpus Christi neighborhood rallies together for former firefighter battling cancer

Posted at 10:15 PM, Sep 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-05 23:17:03-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — We all know the standard color for a firetruck is red, but there’s a pink firetruck driving around town for a worthy cause, cancer.

Lester Garza is a former Corpus Christi firefighter and fought fires with them for nearly 30 years. He drives the pink firetruck, a symbol of raising awareness for people fighting cancer.

Lester has been a part of the organization C.A.R.E. or Cancer Awareness Relief Effort, since 2009. They raise money for cancer patients through selling t-shirts ever year.

However, that cause has become a little more personal for Garza in the past few years.

“Little did I know that in 2016 I would contract prostate cancer which has since become stage 4 prostate cancer, so I’m battling everyday,” Garza said.

Accustomed to raising money for the organization’s cause, now Lester is using some of that money for himself.

“I always said that if we could help one person, that would make it worth while for me, and little did I know, that person would be me,” Garza said.

The president of the organization and friend of Garza’s, Carlos Torres, said even though they sell bracelets and hats, their t-shirts have been their biggest seller and they come up with a new design every year. It’s a cause that’s personal to him because he knows firefighters battling cancer.

“I know a lot of firefighters in the state of Texas and throughout the United States that have been affected by cancer and we’ve had several firefighters here locally and their family members,” Torres said.

On Sunday, Garza’s neighbors organized a get-together with the pink firetruck, allowing kids to get into the firetrucks and families to take pictures.

Organizer of the get-together, Chantal Dubois, said due to COVID-19, many of her neighbors weren’t getting together and she didn’t know many on a personal level, so she wanted to bring her community together.

“Just trying to get them to all know each other and know what we’re all going through, whether it’s depression, whether it’s cancer, and it was nice to hear that Lester had such a neat background,” Dubois said.

Garza said he’s always willing to get to know his neighbors and always willing to help them out.

“I love helping people and I know its cliche but it’s part of the community and helping people, having the brotherhood of the firefighters together. We’re still a brotherhood. Here I’ve been gone 5 years and they’re still taking care of me,” he said.