UPDATE: Raffle Launched for Tuscaloosa Firefighter Battling COVID
A Moundville home-based cottage food business is hosting an online raffle to raise money to support a Tuscaloosa firefighter currently battling COVID-19 at DCH Regional Medical Center.
Chais Billings, a firefighter and paramedic with Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue Service and a Sergeant in the Army National Guard, was diagnosed with COVID-19 just one week ago. Jennifer Stokes, owner of Cookie Chick and Billings' sister-in-law, is offering a gift basket worth $100 through Facebook to support Billings and his family.
He has since been placed in the COVID-19 ICU Unit at DCH, where he was in critical condition Wednesday. His wife, Amanda, said Billings serves as the sole income for their family while she studies nursing at Shelton State and cares for their two children, Keira and Noah. The Billings have not asked for financial aid, nor do they plan to do so, and this fundraiser is strictly an act of kindness from her family.
Amanda has been active on Facebook, providing regular updates on her husband's condition. She said as of Thursday, he is on oxygen and getting Remdesivir treatments and is ready to get better and get back to saving lives.
"[Recovery] will take time, but he will get there and we are extremely thankful for the support our community is showing us," Billings told the Tuscaloosa Thread.
Billings joined the Steve Shannon Morning Show on 95.3 the Bear Thursday and said she appreciates the outpouring of support the community has already shown her husband and that she wants to continue to spread the word.
"Chais has dedicated his life to serving others and helping those in need. He is one of the kindest souls I have ever known," Billings said. "Once he is able to return to work, we will pay it forward and bless another family in need as we have always tried to do privately."
To enter the raffle, visit the Cookie Chick Facebook page, and comment your email address and number of tickets you want to purchase. You can make your payment to the Cookie Chick CashApp ($cookiechickcookies) or Venmo (@cookiechick).
UPDATE: In addition, Stokes had launched a GoFundMe to help pay for Billings' medical bills after his paid medical leave expires, but this has since been removed due to harassment. Although his family is against soliciting help, Stokes says in the fundraiser description that "we know there will be a time that they will soon need it."