But he is not alone in his battle.
When their colleague was diagnosed with colon cancer, three Cherokee County firefighters organized a fundraiser to help Barbee pay for his medical treatment and asked residents to rally around the man who has spent his life protecting others.
Firefighters Todd Mullins, Mike Sims and Stuart Vaughn organized a dodgeball tournament and motorcycle ride to help their firefighting brother Saturday, and asked the community to come support the cause.
“He’s very intelligent and a great paramedic —very hard-working,” Sims said of Barbee. “He’s not afraid to share his opinion on things, but he’s also there to have your back if you ever need help with anything.”
Barbee was diagnosed with colon cancer on Oct. 28 and created an online donation page to raise money for his medical bills, which he said “are piling up” since he left work to begin his fight against cancer.
The Saturday fundraiser will give 100 percent of the proceeds to help Barbee, who is about two-thirds of the way through his cancer treatment plan, Sims said.
He went through chemotherapy and radiation in November and had surgery to remove the cancerous tumor in January, Sims said.
Barbee started another round of chemo near the end of February, and in early March was close to reaching the halfway mark of his fundraising goal of $10,000.
Originally from Macon, Barbee started working for Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services a few years after his service in the U.S. Army, Sims said.
Sims said all of the Cherokee County firefighters are close, and when word spread Barbee was battling colon cancer, they wanted to help.
“We in the department started to hear it by word of mouth back in January,” Sims said. “A lot of us float around and work with each other, we all know each other. I’m not assigned to the same fire house as Dwayne, but we’ve run a lot of calls together.”
Barbee lives in the Sutallee area, and last worked at Fire Station 7 in the Little River area in southeast Cherokee, Sims said.
Sims and the other firefighters organized the “Ballin’ for Barbee” fundraiser, which is scheduled to take place Saturday at Sequoyah High School in the Hickory Flat community, at 4485 Hickory Road in Canton.
Along with the two main events, the event will also include bounce houses for children, children’s dodgeball, door prizes, raffles, concessions, a smoked hog, dunking booth, music and arm wrestling.
Sims said all donations are welcome, from businesses and individuals alike.
The fundraiser begins at 10 a.m. with a motorcycle ride from the Sequoyah High School parking lot.
A cost of $20 covers participation in the ride and a T-shirt. Additional riders cost $5 and can purchase a shirt separately while supplies are available, Sims said.
A double-elimination dodgeball tournament will start at noon, and Sims said walk-ups are welcome for both the motorcycle ride and the dodgeball tournament.
“They can show up with a team of 10, or they can show up with less and we’ll put together teams,” he added.
Adult participation in the dodgeball tournament costs $15, or $25 for entry and a T-shirt. Children under the age of 16 can participate in the children’s dodgeball for free.
People over 16 years old will participate in the adult dodgeball tournament, and the winning team will get a trophy.
To pre-register, or for additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online donations can be made through Barbee’s funding page, at http://www.gofundme.com/67iyr8.