UPDATE: Community rallies around firefighter battling cancer



MIDWAY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A community rallies to help one of its heroes.

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A motorcycle rally and community gathering Saturday raised money for Midway Fire Capt. Allen Vann.

The day after he and his wife, Lelie, returned from their honeymoon in March, Vann found out he had a brain tumor.

They’ve been battling surgeries and treatment since then.

But Vann was surrounded by friends, family, co-workers and perfect strangers during Saturday’s event, which featured food, music, and plenty of support.


MIDWAY, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s one of those stories you almost can’t believe.

Bobby King (left) Allen Vann (right)

A couple gets married and the day after they return from their honeymoon, he’s diagnosed with a brain tumor.

It happened – and now, Midway and Woodford County are rallying around the beloved fire captain, Allen Vann.

His best friend, Bobby King, is hosting a fundraiser this weekend.

“He’s always been there for me,” retired Midway firefighter King said. “He’s always had my back.”

King wants to make sure he returns the favor.

“Allen was basically one of the first friends I ever had in Kentucky, and it just kind of went from there,” King said.

The two have been friends for nearly 20 years. They worked together on Madison County’s rescue team, and eventually moving to Midway together.

They became inseparable.

“We’ve been all over the country together just, you know, doing stupid stuff,” King said.

So when King found out Vann was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, he was devastated.

“I mean, I broke down,” King said. “He had a scan done and they found out he had a tumor in his brain the size of a lime.”

King said Vann’s headaches got severe on his honeymoon in Mexico. He said Vann was already suffering from memory loss. It was something he tossed up to stress.

King said he’s glad Vann’s wife worked on a brain injury unit in the past, and quickly got him to the hospital.

“I know how cancer is. I lost my mother to it,” King said. “I know it doesn’t discriminate against anybody and I know that I really could have lost my friend. There was a big danger of that.”

But Vann could say the same.

King’s foot exploded on a trip they took together back in 2016. King had an infection because a shooting victim’s blood got into his shoe and into a hangnail.

However, Vann acted quickly and got him to a hospital where his leg was amputated.

“He’s the reason why I’m alive,” King said. “Doctors at UK said if I had waited another day, they’d be burying me.”

King said Vann’s hospital bills have already racked up to more than 100-thousand dollars, and says every penny counts.

His fundraiser Saturday, June 26, will be at Walter Bradley Park in Midway and starts at noon. It will feature live bands, motorcycle racing, concessions and even a BBQ cookout competition.

There are still open slots for the competition. The entry fee is $35. Teams will pay $65.

There are also sponsorship spots available.

You can also donate to his GoFundMe.

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Bobbi McSwine joined the ABC 36 News Team in March 2020. She started as a Web Content Producer in November 2019. She was born and raised in Chicago, IL, known to many as the “Windy City.” She studied journalism at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. While in school, she had a number of internships ranging from Free Spirit Media, ABC 7 Chicago and Illinois Public Media. She fell in love with writing in high school and paired that with a newfound passion for storytelling in college. She misses her hometown, but she loves the horses and rich history in Lexington. When she’s not working, she’s probably listening to music or binge-watching Netflix. She’s always looking to get to know more people in Central Kentucky, so feel free to shoot her a message on Facebook @BobbiWTVQ, follow her on Twitter @McSwineB_News, or send her an email at bmcswine@wtvq.com.