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Stamford Firefighter Is Not Alone in Cancer Battle

STAMFORD, Conn. — When Stamford firefighter Chris Rosiak approached the front door to his second job as a registered nurse in Trumbull on Jan. 20, his legs gave out and he fell to the ground.

“It was like he had no control over what was happening,” Chris’ wife, Renee, said of his collapse.

The fall at St. Joseph’s Manor Care & Rehabilitation Center was the third one, Renee recalled. This time he decided to visit the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Medical Center . After a number of tests were performed on the 46-year-old, a spot was found on his brain, which was diagnosed as Stage III anaplastic astrocytoma , a high-grade giloma.

He endured about a month of tests and second opinions before most of the tumor was removed Feb. 20 at Yale-New Haven Hospital . He is now undergoing rehabilitation to get his brain to function properly and to regain his strength.

The Milford father of two has always been active and loves being outdoors, his wife said. He began working as an emergency medical technician right out of high school and that a 9-to-5 job in a cubicle was never for him, she said.

“I know him, he already has cabin fever,” Rosiak said of her husband’s desire to return to work. She said an optimistic timeline was three to five months, though Chris suffered a setback and was readmitted to Yale-New Haven on Monday night, the day he started chemotherapy.

Throughout the treatment, Renee and Chris have tried to remain positive, which is made much easier with their huge support network of friends, family and the 290 other firefighters with Stamford Fire & Rescue.

“They really are a brotherhood,” Rosiak said. “They have our backs.”

In addition to trying to keep up the Rosiaks’ spirits, the firefighters have helped the family financially, raising about $17,500 in an event at Tiernan’s Bar and Restaurant in downtown Stamford last Saturday. Renee said the family needs the money, with Chris unable to work for now.

“It’s a show of love,” she said. The fire union will also be holding a charity hockey game in April 21 featuring four fire department teams, including Stamford, at Terry Conners Ice Rink .

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