La Grande lost Casey Budlong too

It’s with genuine sadness that we relay to you that Casey Budlong last weekend ended his battle with brain cancer; he passed away peacefully with his family by his side.

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[ OBIT ]
His celebration of life is scheduled for May 4 at 2 p.m.
at the Gates Church in Gates, Oregon
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Gates, Oregon

Casey Budlong was diagnosed with brain cancer in August of 2018 and he went through two brain surgeries, six weeks of chemo and radiation, and another five months of intensive chemotherapy after that. He recovered  well, back home in eastern Oregon, but in early 2023 he developed a severe headache and had trouble with the peripheral vision in one eye. An ER visit and a CT scan showed a new tumor in the back right side of his brain. Physicians at La Grande referred Casey and his family back to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland.

Casey had a long career in wildland fire on the Wallowa-Whitman. He was with the La Grande Hotshots and then worked at the airtanker base. He had an infectious smile and a heartwarming laugh.

Casey Budlong family
Casey Budlong family

Casey was able to go easy — he had hospice caregivers working with him and they kept him comfortable toward his last days and mostly not in pain.

For those who haven’t heard the story, when Casey was in the Neuro ICU at OHSU after surgery in the spring, one of his nurses briefed doctors out in the hallway and didn’t realize the family could hear … she told the doctors what he’d endured and said he was amazing. “You’ve got Captain America in there!” she told them.

Scan QR code to donate to Casey's family
Scan QR code to donate to Casey’s family ••• $23,255 USD raised of $30,000 goal ••• 202 donations

In true hotshot style, Casey endured all this with strength, bravery, honesty, and humor, more aware of and concerned with others around him than he was with his own needs. His friends and family plan to wear Captain America shirts for his memorial service.

His wife Katy Budlong still has unmet medical expenses for Casey’s care, and staff at the La Grande Airtanker Base established a GoFundMe account for Katy and the family.