WILLOUGHBY, OH – The bars were packed in downtown Willoughby, but the crowds weren’t there for the Saturday night special.
They were taking part in a pub crawl for Captain Michael Palumbo. The Willowick and Beachwood firefighter is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.
"We sold approximately 1,200 tickets. We have over 100 sponsors. We have twelve bars involved in downtown Willoughby. 100% of the proceeds are going back to Michael and his family,” said fellow firefighter Nick Heintz.
He organized the massive event and said it’s the least he can do after all Michael has been through.
"Michael has been a mentor to me, so when I found out he was sick, a group of a us got together and started brainstorming and thinking of what we could do to help out,” he said. “You hear about the brotherhood in the fire service and I think times like this is when you really see it."
Michael’s fight goes beyond cancer. He’s also working to get a new state law passed. Senate Bill 27 would provide worker’s compensation for firefighters diagnosed with cancer related to their job.
"Right now, he's still using his sick time from work, but once that runs out, it runs out,” explained Michael’s brother Mark. “So our hope and our goal with the Senate Bill that just passed the Senate overwhelmingly, is to get it over to the House side and have the same result.”
Michael and his family said they’re extremely grateful for all the support, and hope the event helps raise awareness.
"It was overwhelming when we got here to see all the people that were out here. I knew it was going to be big, but I didn’t know it was going to be this big. We are truly appreciative of everything that these guys put together for us,” he said.
To donate to Michael’s family and learn more about S.B. 27, CLICK HERE.