Firefighters Jake Chumley, Nick Smith, Brent Ruffin and Jeremy Reeves pose for a photo. Munford’s firefighters have created a GoFundMe for Smith, who is battling Stage 4 cancer, to help with bills. Courtesy photo

Munford’s firefighters are coming together to help one of their own battling cancer.

Nick Smith was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2019.

“I was having trouble taking deep breaths, so I went to an urgent care clinic,” he said. “They did a CT scan and told me I needed to go to the emergency room immediately.”


Smith had a partially collapsed lung. Once it was reinflated doctors noticed a mass was still present on his scans.

“And that’s when it was originally diagnosed.”

The new father went through chemo, and the tumor shrank, but he still lost an entire lung.

Late last year he returned to the fire station and worked with on physical agility, but his physical limitations meant he’d have to quit the job he’d loved.

Nick and fiancée Brooke are parents to one-year-old Layna Marie.

As his fellow firefighters said, he took his humor and light to Baptist Ambulance.

“I had to leave because I couldn’t do it anymore after having my lung removed.”

Smith had worked as a reserve firefighter for Millington  since 2009 and was a reserve firefighter in Munford for less than a year when he began working there full-time. He was on duty for six years.

He’s been working with the Baptist ambulance service and it was recently discovered the cancer is back.

“ … Spine, liver, ribs, jaw and scapula,” he said. “They’re not sure if it’s the same kind I already had, but if it is we already know it’s sensitive to the last chemo.”

Smith said he was surprised by the new diagnosis, which is stage 4.

Brooke and Layna.

“I have periodic CT scans. I had been fine until the last week of March. They noticed some lymph nodes were enlarged since the last set of scans. Then they did a PET scan and found it just about everywhere.”

He is still working for now, but the future is uncertain as he will work with doctors on Thursday on a new treatment plan.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be after. I’m in a lot of pain in my upper body.”

And that’s where his former firefighting family comes in.

They know their brother is getting ready for an uphill battle and they want to do what they can to help.

“The guys are all planning to help cut his grass and take care of his house, but we also want to help him pay his bills,” said Munford Fire Department Lt. Jeremy Reeves, who was on the same shift as Smith. “We started the GoFundMe and hope people can find it in their hearts to help.”

Smith and his fiancée Brooke Ballard are the parents of Layna Marie, who turned a year old on April 3.

Nick and Layna pose for a photo.

They’re a one-car family, living in Covington, and may also need help with transportation and/or childcare if COVID precautions prevent Layna from being with her parents during treatments.

To donate through the GoFundMe, see

If there are other ways you can help Smith and his family, contact Lt. Reeves at (901) 626-8869.

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.