Last fall, longtime Dracut firefighter Leo McMahon learned he had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells.
The news came after he had already undergone two surgeries and radiation treatment for an initial diagnosis of plasmacytoma, a type of abnormal plasma-cell growth that is cancerous.
McMahon, who also serves as union president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2586, was placed on injured-on-duty status to undergo further treatment.
His fellow firefighters, meanwhile, have had to continue working without him.
Recently, a group of them shaved their heads in solidarity with McMahon and his battle against cancer.
"We really appreciate everything Leo's done for us, especially in his 15 terms," Dracut Fire Lt. Albert Stamp said late last week outside the department's headquarters on Pleasant Street, referring to his stint as union president. "He's been really a big part of this town, working toward a safe work environment for the firefighters. He's a great advocate for all of us, and obviously he's done a lot as a firefighter in this town."
"When he fell ill, we thought this would be a small way of showing our support for Leo."
Stamp said firefighter Justin George was the first to shave his head. As of last week, nine firefighters have participated, and more have considered joining in.
George said he has been working closely with McMahon on union-related matters for about a year now.
"He's been there for me and for anything," George said.
McMahon, 51, said he was doing pretty well last week. He received bone marrow through a transplant. He added that the support of his fellow firefighters has been "really overwhelming."
"Obviously, we kind of work in a different type of field where it's, as they call it, a brotherhood," McMahon said by phone while at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
"It's really your family and our second family. I want to give them my heartfelt thanks for everything that they're doing for me. Showing the solidarity is very heartwarming."
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.