By Mariah Congedo | October 18, 2020 at 10:21 PM EDT - Updated October 19 at 6:16 AM
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Savannah Fire Department is welcoming back one of its firemen.
After a year-long battle with cancer, Savannah Firefighter Alex Williams is back on the fire truck.
“We’re given another chance to make our impact on the world.”
For eight years, Alex Williams has gone to work as a firefighter for the Savannah Fire Department and Garden City Fire Department.
“I loved my job before I was diagnosed," Williams said. "But going through this I love my job even more.”
Williams says it’s the brotherhood and support from his colleagues, family and people unbeknownst to him who have rallied behind him and his fight with Paraganglioma cancer.
“We went to the ER thinking you had appendicitis," said wife McKenzie Williams. "Like it was just going to be an easy in and out. He was going to get a couple days off and life would resume.”
As Williams and his family were getting ready for the holidays last year he started feeling sick. He ultimately ended up getting a CT scan that would lead to his diagnosis.
“He sat us down and said, so there is a mass that is cancer in your husband’s abdomen,” she said.
Within six weeks of his diagnosis, Williams was sent back for his first surgery in Atlanta where he later spent 31 days.
“He started improving and then he crashed and went back in for an emergency surgery,” said McKenzie.
Williams says the firefighter community immediately supported him and his family. Just a few of the ways they showed their support was by hanging lights for them for Christmas, buying presents for the kids and making t-shirts in his honor.
“Once I got off the medication and I started walking again, from that point on I hit the ground running,” he says.
Williams says he used his cancer diagnosis as a tool to get him back in the fire department and begin spreading positivity.
The risks that come with being a firefighter is one Williams and his family say they took.
“We’ve had multiple firefighters beat cancer and we’ve also lost multiple firefighters to cancer,” said McKenzie.
His journey led him back to what he calls his second home.
“I feel like when I’m going to work I’m going home and when I get off of work I’m also coming home,” Williams said.
"We appreciate everything that Savannah Fire gave us and the Local 574 and our family and our community,” McKenzie said.
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