Hero firefighter battles NSW fires a day after cancer diagnosis

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A volunteer firefighter has been hailed a hero after the father-of-two left to fight the NSW bushfires a day after receiving a stage-four melanoma diagnosis.

The Daily Telegraph reported Ryan Channells, 42, saved homes last month during a raging blaze on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

RFS volunteer firefighters Senior Deputy Captain Stuart Jose, firefighter Ryan Channells and Deputy Captain Jamie Murphy. Picture: Nathan Edwards
media_cameraRFS volunteer firefighters Senior Deputy Captain Stuart Jose, firefighter Ryan Channells and Deputy Captain Jamie Murphy. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Mr Channells, who has two children, Toby, 2, and Skye, three months, is a volunteer for the Wauchope Rural Fire Service brigade.

“I prefer to help other people,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Channells is now receiving treatment for melanoma at a Sydney hospital.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison lauded the hero’s “selflessness and bravery” that “defines Australia” – urging Australians to give their support during his and his family’s difficult time.

Sky News commentator Daniel Petrie praised the firefighter who said Mr Channells “is my Australian of the year, if not the decade”.

“Wauchope on that mid-north coast of New South Wales is ground zero for these fires and how dry it is there,” he said.

“The photo says it all on the front of The Daily Telegraph.”

The photo, taken by News Corp snapper Nathan Edwards, depicted the hero firefighter holding his three-month-old daughter.

RFS volunteer firefighter Ryan Channells with his three-month-old daughter Skye. Picture: by Nathan Edwards
media_cameraRFS volunteer firefighter Ryan Channells with his three-month-old daughter Skye. Picture: by Nathan Edwards

As the wage earner for the family, the financial cost to access treatment for the stage-four metastatic melanoma is adding up.

A GoFundMe page set up to help the family has so far raised almost $10,400 in six days.

Organiser Angela Channells said, “He needs to focus his energy on himself and his recovery right now, and if we can help lessen his and Carlie’s financial worries, this can assist to lessen their load,” she said.

“Ryan is the first to put his hand up to help when he is able if someone is in trouble – he needs our help this time.”

Originally published as Hero firefighter battles cancer

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