BRITISH expat Marcus Kershaw has only lived in Australia for three and half years but he knows a thing or two about mateship.
Mr Kershaw is supporting his friend and fellow Rural Fire Service volunteer Mike Maria in his battle against acute Leukaemia.
Mr Kershaw has vowed to fundraise money for The Leukaemia Foundation which is helping the Maria family through this difficult time.
The fight against Leukaemia is one close to Mr Kershaw's heart losing his mother to the disease earlier this year.
"Over the Christmas period, my sister phoned me and informed me my mum only had three weeks left to live. I booked a flight to go back to the UK after New Year's Day, I spent one day with my mum before she lost her battle with Leukaemia," he said.
On learning of Mr Maria' diagnosis, Mr Kershaw went to donate blood but was told he could not as he lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 and it may be possible he could pass on a human strain of mad cow disease.
Mr Kershaw decided to look at other avenues to help the Maria family.
"The main reason [I'm helping Mike] is because I've kind of gone through the same thing, obviously not myself but with my mother having Leukaemia," he said.
"I feel pretty frustrated that I can't donate blood and I felt a bit helpless I couldn't help my mum. I couldn't just stand by and do nothing, I want to assist the best way I can and for me that's raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation. I know Mike's family are directly benefiting and receiving help from them."
A former military man Mr Kershaw joined the RFS as he was not permitted to join the Australian Army.
There are 51 volunteers at the Queanbeyan branch ranging from 18 to 75-years-old.
"I joined the Rural Fire Service because I was looking for that same sort of camaraderie you get in the army," he said.
"I enjoy getting out there and doing the physical work and doing the job...it's a very social brigade. If I wasn't in the RFS, apart from my work colleagues I wouldn't know anyone."
The 31-year-old man said he has a lot in common with Mike, they both have a defence background and come from out of town.
"Myself and Mike we get on reasonably well, in fact very well. He also has a defence background as a flight lieutenant, he's a reserve officer in the air force," he said.
Rural Fire Service senior deputy captain Wayne Dalton said the team are a very tight knit bunch. Mr Maria had volunteered at the service for quite some time and is now the deputy captain.
"He actually met his wife at the RFS, they're a very likable family," Mr Dalton said.
"We're like a big family so we all look after each other and do it because we like it."
Mr Dalton said the diagnosis had come as quite a shock as Mr Maria, 26-years-old, had been to the doctor to check a lump under his arm.
"He's a fit, young bloke," he said. "He's been married for 18 months and had just celebrated his son's first birthday. He found out the following week about the Leukaemia."
Mr Maria has just completed the first of three round of chemotherapy and Mr Kershaw said he was "delighted" to hear about all the fundraising work going on.
Mr Kershaw will participate in the Canberra Times Fun Run on September 9 dressed in his RFS boots, pants and shirt.
"I'll be in the RFS yellow so I'll be easy to spot," he said. Mr Kershaw has participated in fun runs and participated in the World's Greatest Shave in honour of his mother, he had raised a couple of hundred dollars for the cause.
This time around he said he would shave his hair off if he reached $700 and had an original target of $1000.
This has been surpassed through the generosity of the other brigade members and local member John Barilaro who has pledged $1000 to the cause.
"Even though I've surpassed my target of $1000, I'm not going to stop I'm going to keep going with the support of the RFS and the brigade."
Community members can do their bit by donating at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/marcus_kershaw_8 or volunteering to give blood at http://www.donateblood.com.au.