When Willoughby firefighters rallied to help Captain Mike Palumbo, their brother with a brain tumor, they really had no idea the good stuff that would just keep on spiraling out of it.
Doctors diagnosed Palumbo with incurable brain cancer. He was a fighter who had 3 brain surgeries.
His firefighter brothers fought for HIM and his family.
They rallied to raise money at the first annual Palumbo Family Pub Crawl in downtown Willoughby last year.
It was a massive successful show of support for this husband and father of 5.
For his family who stood on faith.
Days before the 2016 Palumbo Family Pub Crawl, Mike told Channel 3’s Dawn Kendrick his mindset, his strategy, was firmly rooted in gratitude.
“Live every second to the fullest. When I wake up in the morning it’s a blessing. Each time I look at my wife and kids. Truly, it’s a mindset. A daily fight to keep going forward," said Mike Palumbo.
He fought. His family fought. Against an aggressive tumor that progressively got worse.
Mike Palumbo, who inspired so many, passed away in May.
That Palumbo spirit. That fight. And the passion of the Palumbo Pub Crawl lives on.
A couple months after Palumbo passed, firefighters raised $60,000 at the 2nd annual pub crawl.
This time it was for the Culligan family.
Enough to pay 2 years of insurance premiums for Seamus Culligan, who's fighting brain cancer now.
The Culligans wanted to say thank you. So they surprised Willoughby firefighters with keychains with the The Maltese Cross, a symbol of protection and a badge of honor.
Seamus addressed them all at the fire house saying, “You picked me up when I was down. But most of all I want to thank you for the care and support you provided to my wife and family. You guys are the best," Culligan said through tears. The good kind.
Because WiIloughby firefighters have been picking the Culligan family up 24/7. Doing pretty much everything for a brother...and his family.
Cyndie Culligan told them, “You've picked odds and ends up for me at the store. You fixed a leg on my couch. You watched our children you took them places. You organized meals for us. You fixed the brakes on my car. You helped with medical bills. You fixed my dry wall. You were there for us. You stepped into my husband’s shoes and those are big shoes to fill. Not just because they are size 13 1/2, but because they are my husband’s shoes and he is the most wonderful man I know and he is my rock! My everything."
When Cyndie planned her thank you, Joe and Jeanette at Joe's Deli in Rocky River didn't even give it a second thought and donated massive amounts of food for firefighters.
Mr. Chicken then joined the spirit of giving, providing the Culligans free meals for 2 years.
The keychains were donated by a former firefighter who owns www.firefighter.com.
And really there are layer-on-top-of-layer of kind deeds.
Including a state of the art treehouse built with donated materials and by firefighters.
A #TheGoodStuff snowball that Willoughby firefighters started.