Garfield County Fire Shaves Heads in Support of Maddex McKeirnan


A Coeur d'Alene firefighter's two-and-a-half-year-old son is in the fight of his life. Maddex McKeirnan has a form of cancer in the eye. Maddex's father Kellan grew up in Pomeroy, and knows the Garfield county firefighters well.

Firefighters from across the Inland Northwest have come together in support of one of their very own. Garfield County Fire District 1 joined in support, the same way all other fire crews have—with a pair of clippers and a razor.

"As most little boys, he loves trucks and cars and playing," says Linda McKeirnan, Maddex’s grandmother.

Maddex is as active and playful as they come. But in mid-March, he was dealt heartbreaking news—bilateral retinoblastoma, cancer in the back of his eyes.

"They have hopes that they'll be able to save on eye so that he'll have some vision," says Maddex’s grandmother.

It's a painful road to becoming cancer free.

"His eyes are so swollen shut. They literally inject into the eye, and then they put chemo into the eyelids," says Eric McKeirnan, Maddex’s grandfather.

Maddex is currently in Memphis, Tennessee undergoing treatment at St. Jude’s Children's Hosiptal. But while Maddex is halfway across the country, firefighters here at home are coming together in support of one of their own.

"We're all brothers and sisters in the same thing. We back each other up no matter where we go," says Garfield County Fire Chief Kris Darby.

Across the Inland Northwest, fire crews are shaving their heads for Maddex. From his dad's team at Couer d'Alene Fire to Spokane Fire, and many more. On Thursday night, Garfield County Fire joined in support.

"With all us shaving our heads, it's saying ‘Hey, we're all going to be just like you. We're going to support you,’" says Chief Darby.

"We know all these guys in this community. We grew up with them. It means a lot to feel the support of all these guys," adds Eric McKeirnan.

For Maddex's grandparents, who still live in Pomeroy, this small gesture means the world to them

"It lifts us up. A lot. It's the love and support. I'm just looking at them now, and god bless them. God bless them all," says both Eric and Linda McKeirnan.

"Cancer's something that can be beaten, it can be overcome. But cancer's something that can also beat you. We're going to stay strong for Maddex," says Chief Darby.

Linda also talked to Kellan over the phone on Thursday, and Kellan says he thanks each and every one of his brothers from the bottom of his heart.

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