GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5)-- It's been just over a week since Goodyear firefighter Austin Peck passed away from work-related cancer.
Valley firefighters have been fighting to get cancer claims covered by cities, as families spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for treatment, including the Pecks.
But this week, they wanted to make sure Austin’s family, and two young daughters, knew they weren't alone.
“A lot of them make you so happy that you just start crying or start laughing,” said 10-year-old Marley Peck, Austin’s daughter, as she read cards sent to her family.
Words have a lot of meaning.
But it was Austin’s actions, his fearless fight that his family is holding onto.
“People say it’s easy to be grateful that he’s not in pain anymore, but I know he would have done anything for one more day with his girls,” said his wife Erin.
Thousands of people honored Austin this past week. A beautiful procession was held, and they had a celebration at an Irish bar, just as Austin would have wanted.
[ORIGINAL STORY: Retired Goodyear Fire Department engineer dies from job-related cancer]
His brother Cody, wife Erin, and daughters Harper, 7, and Marley, 10, are taking it all in.
“Our battle was so long it’s hard to remember life before cancer, so a lot of these stories that are coming out just remind me of how much fun we had,” Erin said with tears in her eyes.
Firefighters did something special for his girls on Monday.
It was their first day back at school since their dad died, so they lined up with a round of applause as they walked in.
“It made me feel super happy. It made me realize how awesome my father was,” said Marley. “They’re like uncles and dads and just like family.”
Marley FaceTimes his firefighter brothers on his phone every night, but has a heart like her dad, making sure everyone else is taken care of first.
“It’s really hard, especially school, I hate having to leave her. I get scared she might get left alone one day and not know what to do,” Marley said about taking care of her mom.
And now as they heal, they're turning to hope for Austin’s firefighting family.
“Now that Austin’s fight, that part of physical fight is over. We’re all ready to give it all we’ve got toward the next people,” said his brother Cody.
The Pecks said they're working closely with the other Goodyear firefighters whose cancer claims were denied, even though their cancers do fall under that presumptive state law.
Austin's father, uncle, fellow firefighter, and State Senator Paul Boyer addressed the Goodyear city council Monday.
They plan to keep fighting for change.