Five Albuquerque Station Eight firefighters, who split a $10,000 prize from the record breaking Mega Millions jackpot, have donated part of their winnings to a Vince Cordova, a fellow firefighter who is suffering from a possibly fatal tumor.
"We decided to get tickets ten minutes before the sales closed," said Capt. Jed Hyland told local news affiliate KOB. "I ran in shouting that we hit 5 of the 6 numbers."
The partial match allows the crew to split $10,000. In Maryland, Illinois and Kansas, three winners will be splitting the record breaking jackpot of $640 million.
However, the five firefighters are donating a portion of the money to Vince Cordova, who is in the fight of his life.
"We have a firefighter in need right now, Vince Cordova who we're donating part of our winnings towards," said Hyland.
Cordova, 24, who is from Albuquerque, N.M. has a rare and aggressive brain tumor that is putting pressure on its circulation. The tumor is only found in approximately 2 percent of people and is about the size of two golf balls. Doctors said it is possible for a specialist in Los Angeles to remove the tumor. The price tag, however could upwards of one million dollars, reported KRQE.
"[Cordova] has such a great attitude," said firefighter Gilbert Baca, who trained Cordova, reported KOAT.. "He looks at it as another challenge, like he would a structure fire that we face as firemen. He's going to overcome it. He's positive and he's strong -- that's the kind of man he is."
Cordova has undergone two of three necessary operations and will be heading into surgery for the third. However, he will have to remain in L.A. for an extended period of time while he undergoes physical therapy.
"I'm nervous. I'm scared," said Cordova according to KRQE. "I've got these butterflies in my stomach that just won't leave, but I'm hanging in there."
After hearing about his fellow firefighters' donation, he said he was overwhelmed for their compassion.
"I can't believe that the fireman bond is so strong," he said.
The winners, however, are very thankful to help Cordova.
"We love our brother firefighters," said Albuquerque Fire Lt. Steve Keffer, reported KRQE. "We all know we have challenges in our lives and things happen, so we decided to help his family out and do what we can do for him."
While the donation is only a drop in the bucket, he is grateful for all of the support.
Cordova says he's received letters and prayers from all over the nation, and is grateful for the support.
"I just want to tell everyone thank you for standing by me and staying strong," Cordova said. "Thank you for believing in me, and I promise to see you guys soon!"
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