Even when he’s not on the job, Lafayette firefighter Jules Bruchez is still dedicated to helping those in need. This May, he raced a 5K in his full firefighter gear to raise money and awareness for a family friend, Drew Dufrechou, who was born prematurely three years ago.
"He was 12 inches, 1 pound, 7 ounces when he was born and that’s about 4 months early. I looked at my doctor, I held her hand so tight and I said please just save him," says Amanda Dufrechou, Drew’s mother.
The next 158 days, Drew fought for his life in the hospital until he could take his first breath of fresh air and come home. Day 159, his father, Michael Dufrechou, recalls as "one of the best days ever."
Years later though, Drew still struggles to catch up.
"He still is pretty non-verbal, he has about 10 to 15 words but at three you should have many more than that. We just worry when will he catch up to his peers?"
Drew just took his first steps weeks before his third birthday.
Keeping preemies on a steady developmental track isn’t cheap or easy.
"You feel kind of isolated too because no one else gets it no one understands what goes on with prematurity and how isolated you feel. The world keeps turning around you," says Drew’s mother.
"With the occupational therapy, insurance doesn’t really help out and so they’re swamped with bills," says firefighter Jules Bruchez. This is what pushed him, in all that gear, to the finish line. But this race isn’t over yet.
"It’s about the little boy Drew and his suffering and the ability to get through his occupational therapy so he can have a regular life like us," says Bruchez.
"If these little innocent children can fight through all this, then life isn’t so bad," says Amanda Dufrechou.
Here is a link to donate to Drew’s cause, Any funds the Dufrechou family doesn’t use will go to others in a similar situation.