A fundraiser for former Richmond Hill Fire Department Lt. Leslie Barto is being held on Monday, Aug. 11 at Baldino’s in Richmond Hill.
Barto has been out of work since being diagnosed with brain cancer last year.
50 percent of total sales from the restaurant will go to the Barto family in order to help with the former lieutenant’s medical expenses.
Restaurant owner Donnie Routh, a part time Richmond Hill police officer, said this is his way of reaching out to a fellow city emergency worker.
"She’s a super nice lady, and I’m sure she’d do the same for me if the roles were reversed," Routh said. "We’re hoping for record sales in order to help the family."
Routh said donations beyond the food sales are being accepted as well for those who want to do a little more.
Barto suffered a seizure last Thanksgiving week and was hospitalized. It was then that doctors discovered a malignant brain tumor. She was receptive to radiation and chemotherapy treatment and was scheduled to return to work on June 2, but the discovery of two additional tumors put her out for an indefinite amount of time and caused an impromptu retirement from the RHFD.
Barto now receives a fraction of her salary as part of a long term disability policy. She said one of her medications costs $3,300.
"We really miss her around here," RHFD Chief Vernon Rushing said. "She did a really good job for us. We encourage everyone to come out to Baldino’s on Monday."
Rushing said Barto was a driving force in getting the fire inspection program into full swing and developed it into what it is now.
Barto said she is coping with her illness, but misses her job at the RHFD.
"They can’t remove the tumors because of where they are," Barto said. "The doctors say I could live for ten years or ten days – it’s impossible to predict. I’m getting ready now to do some clinical trials and we’re hoping that will do some good. I hope to return to the department one day, but right now I’m taking it one day at a time."