'The fight of his life.' Norwalk firefighter needs cutting-edge treatment in brain cancer battle

Doctors say former Marine Luca Feola, 46, needs to undergo a cutting-edge treatment that is not covered by insurance.

News 12 Staff

Jul 30, 2023, 11:22 PM

Updated 301 days ago


A Norwalk firefighter, who served for six years in the Marine Corps, is in “the fight of his life” – according to his friends and family.
After a long stay at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Luca Feola, 46, was found to be in the one percentile of patients worldwide with the location of his brain cancer being inoperable. Despite the diagnosis, Feola remains optimistic.
"No matter what happens in life, always keep a positive vibe," he said.
Feola was a United States Marine before his service as a career firefighter. He was a maintenance management specialist who served for six years in the corps.
The Norwalk first responder rose to his current position of deputy fire marshal in Norwalk.
"Luca has spent his entire life helping people and now we need to help him," said Lt. Scott Rywolt, Feola's close friend and colleague.
After enduring three brain surgeries over 12 years, he was recently diagnosed with the brain cancer.
"I see what he's going through but I also know how strong he is," Rywolt told News 12 Connecticut at the Lord Chamberlain Rehab Center in Stratford.
Because of the location of his brain cancer, doctors said the proud husband and father needs to undergo a cutting-edge cancer treatment that is not covered by insurance.
Rywolt believes Feola will get better if a GoFundMe they started to pay for the treatment reaches its goal.
"Everything's moving in the right direction. So as bad as it is, I always say, 'Don't worry until you have to because it will just make you sick,'" Rywolt said.
"Being negative just doesn't help anybody," Feola said. "So even in the situation we have going on now, I still have hope. You know, it's not that bad,"
Feola said it's the love from his wife and support from friends that he gets his strength.
"She means the world to me. This wouldn't be the life that I wanted if it wasn't for her," Feola said.
As Feola remains optimistic, Sen. Richard Blumenthal is proposing a federal registry for firefighters diagnosed with cancer as part of a broader strategy to help them and reduce the number of toxic elements they are exposed to.
"This kind of registry and action by the federal government will help address the problem of making homes safer for firefighters because when they run into burning buildings, they are exposed to the toxins and the poisons and carcinogens that cause cancer at a higher rate," Blumenthal said.
He added that firefighters have a higher rate of cancer because they are exposed to more cancer-causing agents than virtually any other group of professionals.

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