Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Mount Prospect resident and Northbrook Firefighter Steve De Luca plans to run a half-marathon in July, do the Ironman Wisconsin in September and run the Chicago Marathon in October, his 25th.

However, an even larger milestone awaits him in 2017. De Luca hopes to mark his 16th year of being cancer-free, after battling stage 3 colon cancer in 2001.

Beating cancer isn’t the only health hazard De Luca has overcome. Just over 20 years ago, surgeons removed an acoustic neuroma from his head. It was a benign tumor, but he was left with a near total hearing loss in his left ear, and now his hearing is deteriorating in his right ear.

De Luca worried his hearing challenges would derail his fire career — he has been a firefighter apparatus engineer for 26 years. But specialized hearing aids, now in both ears, have allowed him to continue working. The aids localize sound and enable him to recognize the dispatch tones when they go off.

Northbrook Fire Chief Jose Torres said he thinks De Luca is the only one of his nearly 100-member personnel to complete his service while wearing double hearing aids.

Between these two health issues, De Luca has become something of an ambassador for health and wellness, his chief says. De Luca is a big proponent of monitors that gauge the air quality of toxic environments that firefighters often face.

Although each firefighter use breathing apparatus, Torres said, the firefighters often have to go in afterward during the cleanup stages and face exposure to toxins and other poisonous gases.

Earlier this year, Torres tapped De Luca to join Northbrook’s health and wellness committee. He thought De Luca would bring a unique perspective, given his own health experiences.

“He is admired by his fellow firefighters for participating in these endurance events,” Torres said. “But he is motivational as well. He does these events, not as much for himself, but for those currently suffering from cancer.”

thanks Dan