Members of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association (UPFFA) of Connecticut are always looking for new ways to be involved in the community, particularly when they can assist young cancer patients.

Recently, several members of the UPFFA Executive Board, including President Pete Carozza, Secretary Lou DeMici, Vice President-at-Large Chris Tracy and District 3 Vice President James Kottage, visited Smilow Cancer Hosptial at Yale-New Haven to meet with representatives and beneficiaries of a local charity, Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer.

“In the past, some of our affiliate members have helped raise money for this worthy cause,” says President Carozza. “Now, we are hopeful that our members will be able to expand its role with the fund and help more kids fighting cancer.”

The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer was established in 1953 in honor of Tommy Mozdzierz, who died of cancer that same year just two weeks before his fifth birthday.

Before his death from acute leukemia, Tommy managed to garner the attention of an entire state, including a local fire department which knew of his passion for fire fighters and fire trucks. To help Tommy’s family, New Britain Local 992 members held fundraisers to offset medical costs.

More than 30 years later, in 1986, a group of parents of children with cancer and their caregivers at Yale-New Haven Hospital revived The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer with the help of New Haven Local 825 members and a variety of fundraisers.

The charity is still going strong today.