Last August, necn introduced you to Justin Fitch, a U.S. Army Major who served two tours of duty in Iraq and was the commander of the Human Resources and Development detachment at the Natick Labs.
After suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts himself, Fitch made it his mission to make people aware of the invisible injuries veterans suffer and help those fighting the battle to live every day.
"The general public probably just isn't aware that 22 veterans are killing themselves everyday," Fitch said in 2014.
The latest news from around the state
Since 2014, Fitch has been fighting his own battle- one he knows he will lose- against stage four colon cancer in its terminal phase.
So Fitch has made it his final mission to raise money to build a 144-acre retreat in Kentucky where veterans and their families can go for a multi-faceted approach to treatment to try to prevent veteran suicides.
"In a way it provides me purpose and motivation on a daily basis," Fitch explained.
Fitch spoke with necn by phone, as he's moved back home to Wisconsin to be closer to family and friends as the cancer progresses. But he has renewed optimism after Chive Charities picked up his cause this month and through its GoFundMe page garnered more donations than Fitch could have ever imagined.
"Within a few days they almost raised $300,000," said Fitch. "That blew me out of the water."
Fitch says he is thankful not only for donations but for the awareness of the epidemic of veteran suicide.
"I hope to see the cabins completed, and on the retreat before I die," Fitch said.
Click here for more information on Maj. Justin Fitch's final mission to build an Active Heroes Retreat Center.