GRAEME Cooper has been in many tough battles in his 14 years as a firefighter at Ballarat City Fire Station, but none quite like the one he and his family are facing today.
For the past 14 months, the Ballarat firefighter - and devoted father-of-three children under the age of five - has been battling a fast-spreading cancer which shows no sign of slowing down.
As his fight continues each day, his work colleagues, friends and family are rallying behind the 43-year-old and are hoping to raise as much money as they can to help support his family through the most difficult of circumstances.
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"He's one of the top 10 nicest people you'll ever meet," Mr Adams said.
"He and his brother Peter are just the same - they'll always put others first before their own interests.
"For more than 20 years, he's coordinated the Ararat Good Friday Appeal. He's always about the community first, and his children are his world."
Senior Station Officer, Fire Station 67, Ballarat City, Cory Woodyatt described Mr Cooper as "a genuine human" who goes above and beyond to help others.
"I've never heard him speak ill of anyone," Mr Woodyatt said.
"Graeme's very meticulous how he does things, a true professional to the tenth degree.
"One of the biggest things is he's so loyal - loyal to his family and kids, his work colleagues as well. He'll bend over backwards to help someone better themselves."
Mr Woodyatt said above all, his family was Mr Cooper's rock.
"He brings the kids into the station, and you can just see him glow when the kids are there, just the pride he has in his family," he said.
"The fire service is a family, it's an extension of his family. I'm working at Tarneit today and the first things they are asking about how he is and 'how can we help'?
"Bendigo, Warrnambool - you name it - everyone all getting on board to support and help out the family."
Mr Adams and colleague Ben Reynolds have started an online auction with goods donated from a host of Ballarat and regional businesses. The auction has raised over $5000 and will continue until January 31.
A garage sale will also be held in Ararat on January 30, with a special, invite-only, gala fundraiser to be held at The Sporting Globe in Ballarat on January 31.
"All of his work colleagues are getting behind him. The family live on three acres, so we've been out and about doing things at the house; he's at a point at the moment where it's a bit too much for him, so we're doing what we can to assist," Mr Adams said.
"What we can do will not fix the cancer, but we want to be able to take away some of the financial stress, so he and his family don't have that extra concern."
If you wish to donate to the GoFundMe fundraiser, you can do so at https://au.gofundme.com/f/leading-firefighter-graeme-cooper-fundraiser
An online auction is ongoing until January 31 through Facebook. To access it, click here.
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