Note: This story was originally published at 2:53 p.m. July 10 and was updated July 17 with additional information about plans due to the rain. (see bottom)
ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Fire Department will host a memorial service at Stewart Park on Wednesday, July 17 to honor a local firefighter who passed away this week after a years-long battle with cancer.
Daryl Pace, 36, was diagnosed two years ago with a rare form of cancer related to her job as a firefighter. While she returned to work after her initial diagnosis, she retired from the IFD in December 2018 after contributing more than 10 years of service.
In a statement, her colleagues described her as a dedicated and charismatic firefighter, passionate about serving the community and educating young people.
“Being at the firehouse is where she belonged. She was active in all aspects of the job and always wanted to be where the action was. Her energy and charisma will surely be missed,” a statement posted to social media reads.
Pace spoke about her diagnosis last year in a video interview with the Cancer Resource Center, where she participated in a young adult support group.
“The thing about being a firefighter is we’re pretty much educated that at some point in our lives we’re going to get cancer, just because of all the carcinogens and the chemicals that we’re exposed to in our career,” she said. “I was completely ready, accepting and willing to get a cancer diagnosis in my 70s or 80s … but it was quite a shock to get diagnosed at 34.”
Pace said in the interview that she was excited to return to firefighting in 2017 after treatment and urged other young people to pay attention to signs that something related to their health doesn’t feel right.
“If you feel like there’s something wrong, go get it checked out. Don’t ignore it,” she said.
Pace’s colleagues at IFD said she spent her final months surrounded by friends and family and “living life to its fullest… she was a fighter until the very end.”
She will be honored with a Fire Department Memorial Service at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 17 at Stewart Park in Ithaca. All are welcome to attend.
IFD asks fire departments that plan to attend to arrive at 12:30 p.m. in dress uniform and to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, July 14.
(Update July 17) — Due to the rain on the forecast, the Ithaca Fire Department says the service will be held in the Boynton Middle School, 1601 N. Cayuga St. There will be designated parking available at the middle school and overflow parking available at Ithaca High School and along North Cayuga Street.
Check the IFD Facebook page for last-minute adjustments.
Featured image: Daryl Pace. (Courtesy of Ithaca Fire Department)