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Cancer Battle: Firefighters Plunge for Tristen

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STRAWBERRY POINT, Iowa — An effort to help a Missouri baby battling pediatric cancer has gone viral on the Internet, which has inspired an Eastern Iowa community to help one of their own who’s also fighting cancer.

Wednesday was a picture-perfect day at Backbone State Park.

The Kruger family, including 7-year-old Tristen Kruger, didn’t just go to the park to enjoy the beautiful weather. Friends asked them to stop by the beach for a special reason.

“We just kind of started kicking this off recently,” said Strawberry Point Fire Department’s Rescue Captain Terry Groth.

Members of the department decided to make a splash and take a plunge Tristen.

“I just thought we should help him. He’s a local boy that needs help, and his family needs help,” said Strawberry Point Fire Department’s Training Captain Jason Farmer.

They traded in their traditional fire gear for swimming trunks and T-shirts. Without hesitation, half of the volunteer department plunged into the water.

Since the end of March, Tristen has been undergoing treatment for a form of lymphoma.

“He’s been responding really well ... but it is tough being there watching him go through all the different stuff,” said Tristen’s Mother Kristy Kruger.

The firefighters are now challenging others to take part in their plunge for Tristen and to donate.

“To raise enough money so the family don’t have to worry about any medical bills or anything like that,” Groth said.

On the picture-perfect spring day, everyone would agree this is the perfect picture of a community coming together to show support for a special 7-year-old.

Wednesday’s event was the first wave of “plunges” for Tristen. Firefighters hope the idea spreads across the U.S. to bring in money for Tristen’s medical bills.

Organizers said anyone who wants to do the plunge or help the family can send donations to Tristen Kruger’s account at Citizens State Bank in Strawberry Point.

l Comments: 319-398-8268;

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