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‘Courage for Chloe:’ Local fire departments decorate trucks in honor of young girl battling cancer

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WOODBRIDGE -- Fire Departments in Bethany, Orange, and Woodbridge have teamed up to support a family as their little girl battles cancer.

10-month-old Chloe Clemens of Woodbridge was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma in June. Neuroblastoma is a rare form of cancer that starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells.

Chloe's cancer started in her belly, but spread to her kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, bones, one side of the bone marrow, and in her head, where she had bruising. She has been going through chemotherapy at Yale New Haven Hospital and she will likely need surgery. Her parents say her tumors are already shrinking.
"Fingers crossed, they expect a great turnout," said Chloe's mother Leigh Clemens.

Chiefs from all three departments wanted to do something to show support for Chloe and her family as they continue their battle. They all know Chloe's grandfather Mike Clemens, who was a member of the Orange Fire Department for more than 25 years.

"We wanted to do something, but we really weren't sure what to do," said Bethany Fire Chief Bob McSherry. "I'm a father of three so this hits home, especially with somebody that you know very well. Even if you didn't, your heart feels for them."

They decided to wrap a fire truck from each department  in purple, gold ribbons, and decorated with the words "Courage for Chloe." Purple signifies support for patients with Neuroblastoma cancer and gold ribbons show support for children with cancer.

"It really sends a message that we're all together and we're all one big family, even though we're from three separate towns," said Woodbridge Fire Chief Sean Rowland.

The trucks were all together for the first time during an event at the Woodbridge Fire Department on Friday night. The Clemens family was there, along with Chloe.

Chloe's father Will Clemens said, "The community rallying like this is definitely overwhelming."

"At first it was a little too much to say, 'OK, we're ready to share her story,' but now we're sharing her story. And we really feel the good vibes, the prayers, the support and the medicine Chloe is getting is helping her," said Leigh Clemens.

The Clemens family has asked that monetary donations be sent in Chloe’s name to the Tommy Fund at Yale New Haven Hospital. You can learn more about the Tommy Fund here.