ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- "This can happen to you."
Waukegan firefighter Kevin Oldham is talking about cancer.
"I'm 33 years old. I was diagnosed last April, 2010. I was very healthy. I had a healthy lifestyle, and now I'm fighting for my life with pancreatic cancer," says Code 3 for a Cure member Kevin Oldham.
Kevin is a member of Code 3 for a Cure, a foundation that honors firefighters who've fallen to the disease.
"I fought three different cancer battles. I've seen my comrades die of cancer, and I wanted to fight back," says Lorenzo Abundiz, Code 3 Founder and President.
The organization was founded in part to encourage early screenings for cancer.
"You need to be aware of what's going on in your life and what's going on with your body, and we need to sometimes take the time to help ourselves, too," says Code 3 member and Yakima, Washington firefighter Bob Burton.
That's why each year, Code 3 members trek across the US and Canada to raise awareness.
"I used to go to work and try and save the residents in my town, and now I get to go to random fire houses across the nation and try and save the lives of my fellow firefighters," says Oldham.
Firefighters like those here in Rockford.
"We all know as firefighters that there are inherent risks in the job and in what we're exposed to, but we all tend to put it on the back burner. These guys today brought the reality right in front of our faces. It's real, and that's what hit home," says Rockford Fire District Chief Steve Bishop.
Code 3 kicks off their main 2011 mission on March 14th.
In Rockford, Alex Nowak, 23 News.
Code 3 also raises money to help firefighters with cancer face financial burdens. To find out more about the organization, you can head to their website at: www.code3foracure.org.