August 17, 2023 14 Comments
The word “cancer” always comes with a truckload of shock. And questions. And doubts. And, in the best cases, it comes with hope and the will to fight.
Especially when it comes to first responders, no one fights alone.
Ken Larsen, a veteran of 30+ years in the fire service, has an army behind him. That includes Fire Dept. Coffee.We’ve created a special Benefit Coffee with our popular Original Medium Roast Coffee and a special Benefit Shirt to support the Lake Geneva Firefighters Association and, more specifically, to benefit Ken in his battle against cancer.
This is Ken’s story.
Ken joined the Woodstock Fire Rescue District in Wisconsin as a volunteer back in 1987. He loved the role of serving his community so much that eventually, in 2002, he made firefighting his career, starting with the Huntley Fire Protection District and soon after joining the Lake Geneva Fire Department.
Along the way, he has been active in special operations teams and dealing with various hazardous materials. He has also taught with the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), passing along the lessons he’s learned over more than three decades in the fire service.
In early 2023, the diagnosis arrived. … Esophageal cancer.
Ken and his wife, Karen, accepted the diagnosis with optimism and determination. They selected the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for his cancer care. The plan was to go through the prescribed treatments, have the necessary surgery and promptly get back to being “the helper” — and not the one seeking help from others.
Reality has proven more challenging.
In June, before he could have surgery, the Larsen's learned that Ken’s cancer had spread to his liver. The situation has become far more serious than they ever expected.
Yet, there is hope. Ken’s doctors are optimistic that new treatments can make a difference. So Ken and Karen have committed to doing whatever it takes to win the fight. It isn’t easy. Fighting cancer has become Ken’s full-time job.
So the Larsen's — reluctantly, yet with great gratitude — have welcomed the support of the many people and organizations who have volunteered to help.
When we learned of Ken’s situation, we felt compelled to offer our support. The funds we raise through the sales of the Benefit Coffee and Benefit Shirt will be incredibly important to help the Larsen's deal with the financial hardships that his cancer diagnosis has created.
At Fire Dept. Coffee, we’ve seen time and again how coffee lovers — whether first responders or otherwise — have never jumped at the chance to enjoy their coffee knowing that it’s supporting a larger cause. We believe it makes every sip taste a little bit better.
“Ken is a helper,” his wife, Karen, said. “We want everyone to know that we are blessed and grateful for the continued outpouring of support that has come from the hearts of so many and in so many ways. … We will use what we need. We have also vowed that if we get through this OK and have funds left over, we will pay it forward to others who need help in various ways.”
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