This week I'd like to tell you just a little bit about a tall, athletic young man named Brian Dougan, who lived in Westport for several years before enlisting in the Navy in 2009. While he was living here, he served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, while working as a paid EMT for CVPH. There he partnered with Chuck Bertsche, another Westport volunteer EMT, who passed away last year and whose leadership in our squad I've written about in this column.

Last December, Brian was visiting with family in Baltimore and noticed a growing pain in his right testicle. Any guy is likely to ignore that sort of thing as long as possible, but Brian's wife Ellon persuaded him to go the ER. As he put it in the blog he started writing soon after, "In less than four hours I had gone from arriving at the ER with testicular pain to finding out I was less than 48 hours away from having my right testicle removed and that I most likely have cancer."

You can find Brian's blog at Brianandhiscancer.blogspot.com. I highly recommend it. In addition to being an exemplary human being, Brian is also a wonderful writer who is determined to share his experiences as a cancer patient without sentimentality or self-dramatization (but with a healthy dose of humor).

An avid cyclist, Brian had already ridden in Lance Armstrong's 100-mile LiveStrong Challenge several years before his diagnosis. Now he's determined to ride again this summer. If you go to Brian's blog and click on the button for LiveStrong Challenge 2011, you can help sponsor him. He's hoping to raise $5,000 for the charity. Brian is just starting his second round of chemo as I write this. In a few weeks, doctors will be able to tell him whether the tumors, which had spread to other places in his body, have been knocked back. Let's all wish him and his family the best of luck in a speedy recovery. Many thanks to Brian's proud parents, Pat and Sue Dougan of Westport, for sharing this inspiring story with me.

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