"I kept thinking about my daughter. I'm a single dad. My daughter is everything to me. Thank you FirefighterAid for all your help and caring support."

- RC Ortanez



Arsenio "RC" Ortanez had been with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department for 20 years, spending that time fighting some of the city's most devastating fires, including spending time on the frontlines of the Cedar Fire.


All San Diego Firefighters are required to undergo regular wellness checks to ensure their health is in order. It was during one of those checks in 2007 where RC found out he had cancer. RC was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a type of cancer that affects white blood cells. RC was on several medications for treating his cancer, but recently his body stopped responding to it. He needed a bone marrow transplant.


RC is Filipino. Bone marrow is often matched by ethnicity, and according to the National Marrow Donor Program, only 7 percent of donors are Asian. While RC hoped to find a match, his Firefighter mentality of helping others shines through knowing those who donate may save someone else.


Over 500 donors showed up to the blood drive co-hosted with Be The Match at the SDFRA Office in Mission Valley. Eventually, a match was found and RC got his bone marrow transplant. 


RC got a second chance at life and is healthy today, he continues to work in Fire Prevention.




2/14/2012 - Bone marrow drive for San Diego firefighter  

2/15/2012 - Local Firefighter In Need Of Bone Marrow Transplant 

2/16/2012 - Bone Marrow Drive Held For Local Firefighter 

2/17/2012 - Potential Bone Marrow Donor Found for Firefighter 

2/19/2012 - Firefighter Needs Bone Marrow Transplant  

3/5/2012 - Possible bone marrow match for firefighter