Philadelphia Fire Department Battalion Chief battles brain tumor, inspires fundraising for a cure

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Saturday, October 8, 2022
Philadelphia Fire Department Battalion Chief battles brain tumor
At the 17th annual Race for Hope, members of the Philadelphia Fire Department raised thousands to support one of their own who is battling a brain tumor.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- For years, she fought fires. Now, Battalion Chief Linda Long is fighting a brain tumor.

"I've been with the Philadelphia Fire Department for 31 years and I was a volunteer before that for approximately 10 years with fire and EMS," said Long.

The last fire she responded to was an incident in South Philadelphia during June of 2019. And it was a big one.

"Honestly, my life really changed when the refinery exploded," she said. "I had trouble breathing for almost a year."

Later, Long began having issues with dizziness. In order to find the answer, she bounced around from doctor to doctor.

"They discovered I had a level four brain tumor, also known as a glioblastoma," she said.

At first, Long's prognosis gave her only six months to live. Thankfully, she is still fighting 18 months later. She credits her doctors with Penn Medicine, a treatment device developed by Optune that she wears 24/7, and of course, the support of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

"The firefighters and the paramedics care for me so much, they always wanted to do something for me," she said. "They wanted to have a fundraiser to raise money. They wanted to take care of me. They drive me to doctor's appointments. They drove me to chemo."

And most recently, firefighters, friends, and family joined Linda Long at the 17th annual Race for Hope in Philadelphia. The event is hosted by the National Brain Tumor Society. Its Chief Executive Officer, David Arons, was excited to have the event return in-person this year at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

"We're raising close to 600,000 already, and we're headed towards upwards of 700,000," he said. "And these dollars go right back into research, helping families through their healthcare journey."

Members of the Philadelphia Fire Department Team raised more than $15,000 of those dollars in Linda Long's name.

"She does so much for so many people on the job and in the community," said Philadelphia Firefighter Jen Leary. "It only makes sense that we come together now as a department and do something for her."

Moving forward, Linda Long hopes that other individuals diagnosed with brain tumors will remain hopeful for the ever-evolving world of medicine.

"After all the treatment, I am somewhat surprised that I'm able to do all this. I can read, I can watch TV, I can walk," she said. "I will always keep putting one foot in front of the other."

To learn more about the National Brain Tumor Society, visit their website.

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