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Former Calgary Fire Chief seeking lung transplant

Last Updated Oct 8, 2019 at 10:31 am MDT

Former Calgary Fire Chief Bruce Burrell (CREDIT: Go Fund Me)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A former Calgary fire chief is in very poor health, and an online fundraiser is helping him get much-needed relief.

A Go Fund Me campaign is seeking donations to help Bruce Burrell get a double lung transplant.

Burrell, who now lives in Nova Scotia, was recently diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

“It is a terminal diagnosis,” said Bruce’s wife Jennifer. “At the time he was given one to three years.”

IPF causes many symptoms including shortness of breath, chronic cough, chest tightness and loss of energy.

Jennifer said he initially kept the diagnosis quiet.

“He’s stoic, he didn’t want pity, he didn’t want people worrying about him, he just thought he was going to have years and years to fight this. Sadly, that one to three-year prognosis really kicked in around year two and went to the last resort mode.”

Drug treatment hasn’t stopped his condition from worsening, and now Bruce and Jennifer need to move to Toronto and live within walking distance of the hospital that will perform the transplant.

Since retiring from the Calgary Fire Department, Burrell has been campaigning on behalf of those with occupational-related illnesses.

So far, some prominent Calgarians have donated to the fundraiser, including former Police Chief Jack Beaton, and Tom Sampson with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

Burrell served as Fire Chief from 2005 to 2014, helping lead the recovery from the historic floods of 2013.