Firefighter's cancer calendar hits close to home

VANITA PRASAD
Last updated 15:54 07/10/2011

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When Elaine Moore agreed to star in New Zealand's first female firefighters calendar she was doing it to help the Child Cancer Foundation.

It's a cause that is now closer to home after her 15-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer.

''I had done the photo shoot months beforehand, little knowing that it would affect my own family,'' she says.

The Te Atatu volunteer firefighter says her son fell sick with what appeared to be a virus before doctors diagnosed him with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last month.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocyte, a type of white blood cell that is produced in the bone marrow and travels through blood to other parts of the body. Doctors detected the cancer while in stage four, early enough for the teen to be able to fight it off.

''He's had his first round of chemotherapy and there's an 80 to 90 per cent chance that they'll be able to get rid of it,'' she says.

The mother-of-four says cancer charities have always been her preference when supporting aid organisations.

''You can support a charity for a long time never knowing that one day you might need their support.

''You never know what's around the corner.'' 

The Child Cancer Foundation has been the principal recipient of the funds raised by the Fire Service calendar with more than $500,000 donated to the charity in the past 20 years.

Moore says she hopes her efforts in the calendar will pay off for her family and fellow Kiwis affected by child cancer.

Three other west Aucklanders have also put their bodies on the line for the good cause.

Waiatarua volunteer firefighter Louisa Ferguson was nominated for the calendar by her fellow firefighting fiancée Gareth Mullins.

''I think he was quite chuffed to have a calendar girl,'' she  says.

Ferguson gave birth to her first child Caleb just seven months before baring her midriff for a photo and is honoured to be a part of the first Fire Service female calendar.

''It was a great experience and something I can now tick off the list.''

Glen Eden firefighter Richard Ford, 22, says he's had a mixed reaction to his appearance as Mr February.

 ''My girl mates loved it and were really supportive but the boys gave me heaps of grief,'' he says.

''It had to be done though and it's for a good cause.''

Whenuapai firefighter Dan Nesbit, 21, says he didn't have to put much effort into getting buff for his calendar debut.

''I'd just got back from a deployment with the military in the Middle East when my photo was taken.''

While Nesbit had hoped to  make the coveted cover, he's happy to be the new Mr October.

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''It's the same month as my birthday so maybe the people who put the calendar together took that into account.''

- Western Leader

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