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The Heart of Central Texas: Local hero needs new kidney as he fights cancer for the 3rd time

Jerry "JJ" Price is the assistant fire chief of Elm Mott Fire and Rescue. He's battling kidney cancer for the third time and desperately needs a kidney donor.

ELM MOTT, Texas — From fighting fires to battling cancer, a local fire chief who already beat cancer twice is battling it again for the third time. Only now, he is in desperate need for a new kidney.

Jerry "JJ" Price's family is asking for prayers as he recovers from major surgery.

Friends and family say Price is one of the most selfless people you'll ever meet.

"He left the hospital the other day he was on his way home and stopped and responded to a wreck," Crystal Riera, his stepdaughter said. "He was off duty but that's his job. That's him. That's what he does,"

Price is the Assistant Fire Chief of Elm Mott Fire and Rescue. He also works at Robert's Truck and Equipment, but he'll have to step away from both for the time being.

"It was kind of a kick in the side, but I was hoping that we got at all the last time. And well, here we are again," Price said.

Price is battling kidney cancer for the third time now. He was diagnosed for the first time in 2016. Doctors were forced to remove his left kidney. Then in 2019, cancer came back attacking his right kidney.

"He had the third of his right kidney removed," Riera explained.

Price says he refused to let the diagnosis keep him from giving back.

"I just got to keep going for my family, for my community, for my work, my friends and just for myself," Price said.

But now, the Army veteran who's dedicated his life to others needs help. Doctors are removing the remaining portion of his right kidney, meaning he will have no kidneys. As a result, he'll have to be on dialysis until he can get a new one.

"We are just trying to support him and be there for him, do everything that we can. It's going to be a long road," Riera said.

Riera started a GoFundMe that already has raised nearly $2,000 to help pay for bills. She's hoping they can find a kidney match for Price as soon as possible. 

Riera says the situation has made her realize how precious life is.

"You don't realize what can happen at any given time; tomorrow is not promised," Riera said.

In the meantime, Price remains hopeful for the future.

"I'll be back as soon as possible. Hopefully, everything goes great. I'll be back out here doing what I love doing, which is helping other people," Price said.

The Elm Mott Fire department is hosting a barbecue fundraiser at their fire station on Saturday, June 12 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Price's honor.

You can find more information about how to become a live kidney donor for Price on Baylor Scott & White's website.