An Acushnet couple is coping with devastating news surrounding their 7-year-old son and a diagnosis they never saw coming.

After a few hospital trips in December, Taylor and Danielle Guillemette discovered on Jan. 12 that their son, Porter, has an aggressive brain tumor.

When Taylor’s friends from the New Bedford Fire Department found out, they dropped everything to help.

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Porter’s Story

Just before Christmas, Porter came down with Covid. When he started to lose his balance and stumble over his words, Taylor and Danielle began to worry. A trip to Boston Children’s Hospital resulted in a viral infection diagnosis, but when Porter didn’t get better after a few weeks, the family returned for more testing.

Courtesy of Billy Sylvia
Courtesy of Billy Sylvia

Two weeks later, Porter was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an aggressive brain tumor that is incredibly difficult to treat due to its location on the brain stem.

“Depending on several factors, including age and progression of the tumor when diagnosed, the average survival of patients with DIPG is tragically less than one year from diagnosis,” New Bedford Firefighters President Billy Sylvia said. “We remain hopeful of a cure to help Porter and anyone else who is going through the same ordeal.”

The Power of Friendship

Taylor has been a New Bedford firefighter since 2011 and works on Engine 6 in the South End alongside Sylvia.

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“When we found out what happened, we were floored,” Sylvia said.

Sylvia, Guillemette and another firefighter on Engine 6, Jay Hinchcliffe, are more than coworkers. They are family.

The three men have been working together for eight years. They have watched each other’s families grow as they all welcomed sons into the world, and over the years, the men have enjoyed countless holidays, parties and hangouts together.

When Sylvia and Hinchcliffe found out what their brother was going through, they jumped into action.

NBFD Starts a Fundraiser for the Guillemettes

Sylvia informed the department, and soon, everyone was reaching out to help.

“Everyone in the department has been awesome,” Sylvia said. “Friends, family, and business members have reached out asking to help. (The Guillemettes) have enough on their plate. I can’t imagine what they’re going through. I told Taylor to not worry about a thing.”

In less than three weeks, the department has raised over $42,000.

To Sylvia, it’s a small gesture to friends that have become family.

Difficult times are ahead, but thankfully, the Guillemettes have good people in their corner.

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