Inoperable brain tumors aren’t stopping Fuquay-Varina firefighter

Wake County News

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WNCN) – Firefighters fight every day.

They get up, get on their fire gear, and work to save lives, every time they are needed.

But one firefighter recruit in Fuquay-Varina does a bit more than that.

She’s also fighting cancer.

“I call them a family, we’re so close-knit and they would do anything to get my back,” said 23-year-old Summer Williams.

Summer Williams

Just thinking about the people in the Fuquay-Varina Fire Department brings a smile to her face.

The sense of community only adds to her love of firefighting.

“You never know what you’re going to get. I love that,” she said.

As a teenager, Williams was part of the Fuquay-Varina Fire Explorer Program.

She started training to be a firefighter after high school.

Williams’ goal was to one day have her own jacket and helmet on the wall of fire gear at the station, next to those of people whom she looked up to.

“You just gotta believe in it,” she added.

On Friday, her gear was hung up, next to a new full-time female firefighter at Station 1.

It’s taken years of fighting her own battles before Williams was able to graduate from the Fire Academy.

In 2018, she was diagnosed with a rare form of Melanoma.

She beat it, but it came back after a year, while she was still in the academy.

“I told [Chief Tony Mauldin] what was going on and that I was going to need surgery,” said Williams.

Maudlin remembers that day vividly.

“It was hard,” he said, fighting back tears. “It was tough.”

It continues to get even tougher for the fire department family.

In May, Williams had emergency brain surgery to remove a Stage 4 cancer tumor.

In Oct. 2021, doctors found four tumors in her brain and a cluster in her spine.

All are inoperable.

“We’ll do anything we can to help her,” said Mauldin.

He explained that she’s a fighter.

“She’s inspiring to everybody,” added Mauldin.

Even at the conclusion of the interview with CBS 17, Williams passed on a little wisdom of her own.

“Don’t ever give up on anything,” she said with a smile.

Williams said that while doctors can’t operate on her tumors, she is going through radiation treatment and will follow up with chemotherapy.

She, her family, and the fire department are all hoping this works, so Williams can officially become a firefighter.

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