Calif. Firefighter and Father of 2 Daughters Dead at 33 After Being Diagnosed with Cancer
Andy Valenta, who loved ones described as "a boisterous member" of the Vista Fire Department, was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma in January
A California firefighter and father of two has died following a battle with skin cancer.
Andy Valenta, who loved ones described as "a boisterous member" of the Vista Fire Department was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma in January.
By the time he learned of his illness, the cancer had already spread to multiple organs. Andy was admitted to the ICU days later for a secondary brain bleed, according to a GoFundMe campaign created for his family.
By the end of the month, loved ones wrote that Andy had returned home, but was undergoing "very intense treatment."
On Sunday, the Vista Fire Department confirmed Andy's death in a statement on social media, writing the news with "heavy hearts and deepest sorrow."
"The loss of Andy has left a gaping hole in the Fire community and although time may heal; his lasting impact and memory will never leave us," the fire department wrote. "Rest Easy Brother. We'll take it from here."
Andy is survived by his wife, Caylie Valenta, and their two daughters — Lily, 4, and Grace, 2.
Andy's family and friends rallied behind the firefighter to support him by donating over $125,000 to his GoFundMe campaign.
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"The outpouring of support is so far beyond what we even imagined," Andy's wife Caylie told the San Diego Tribune in February after $80,000 was donated in the first three days following the crowdfunding page's launch.
"We're still in shock at how generous people have been and how much they truly care about the situation. A lot of that is about the people that Andy has touched throughout his life. Everyone he meets he's left a lasting impression on."