KILLEEN (January 5, 2012)--Area firefighters, volunteers and members of the community get buzz haircuts to honor and raise money for Killeen firefighter Josh Bales, who is battling cancer.
26-year-old Killeen firefighter Josh Bales said he was fine and healthy until he thought he had a sore throat, a sore throat that turned into a swollen neck and then cancer.
"To be 26 and get told you have cancer kind of changes the way I had thought about how I was doing and everything like that," Bales said.
Bales was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, in November of 2012.
His cancer is currently in Stage II B, meaning it's in two different locations and more progressive.
But Bales isn't battling alone.
Today, his friend Joel Lytle is not only buzzing his head in honor of Bales, but he's also gathered other Killeen firefighters, along with firefighters from Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Temple and others to join him.
Family, friends and many who Bales didn't even know buzzed their heads and donated money and prizes today at "Buzz for Bales," a gathering to raise money for Bales' medical bills.
"Any of us would do it for any of us," Lytle said.
"It's just you take care of your own, and you want to help out with any expenses they have."
Bales and his parents James and Nan Bales said they couldn't be more grateful.
"I don't think there's anything I can say to pay back for all they''ve done for me and everything they've offered to help me with," Bales said.
"The fire department is like a brotherhood," Jame Bales said.
"They take care of their own, and it's just a great feeling to know that people care that much and will make the effort to do things to support somebody."
Although some things have been different for Bales lately, his friends and family said his work ethic and perseverance are still the same.
"He works just as hard as the rest of us, and he chooses to come to work even though he might be tired from his chemo," Lytle said.
Lytle also said Bales inspires him and the other firefighters.
"He's going through a rough time, and he's not letting it affect him," Lytle said.
"He's as strong as he was, and if I had cancer, I would hope that I'm able to be as strong as he is."