Family, community lifts up local hero in challenging time

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WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – A Wheeling man who fights fires needs your help fighting for his life.

Josh Berka is a husband, father, firefighter, and EMT.

While he has selflessly risked his life for others, now he needs someone to do the same for him.

It’s been a little bit of a constraint with what I have but I’ve been temporarily reassigned to fire prevention which has been amazing. I get to see a different side of things. They have just been amazing. I can’t say enough for everything that they have done and helped us with.

Josh Berka, a Wheeling Firefighter & EMT

Josh Berka wears many hats.

He’s a firefighter but more importantly, a loving husband and father of two young kids.

But Josh is dealing with the most challenging foe of his life: Polycystic Kidney Disease.

His father has dealt with the disease and had a transplant. Josh seemed fine until late last year.

He was healthy, he was great, he worked out everyday and then he said he felt like a sledgehammer was in his back.

Ashley Berka, Josh’s wife

At that point, all the Berkas thought about was the transplant. Luckily, Josh found a special donor.

And we did find that his brother is a match. For the past six months, it feels like forever, we’ve been doing blood tests, scans — just everything you can think of. It’s not just blood type. They look at everything about your body to see if you’re a match.

Ashley Berka, Josh’s wife

On November 1, Josh will have both kidneys removed and go on dialysis.

Then on November 12, he will receive the transplant.

The Berkas have been overwhelmed by the support that they have received from the community.

If anything, every woman and man in the valley sends a card and it always has a $10 bill in it. We don’t expect that. We like reading your cards and seeing all the support people give. It’s wonderful.

Ashley Berka, Josh’s wofe

If you remember anything from this story, it’s this piece of advice from Josh.

If you have an issue don’t hesitate. I was talking to my doctor and she said you wouldn’t believe the amount of people that don’t go through with all of their testing.

Ashley Berka, Josh’s wife

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

It includes more details about Josh’s battle and also a link to a GoFundMe page that has been organized to help the Berka family.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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