Regional Communications Center dispatcher Adam Zibura handles a call earlier this year in Augusta. As a dispatcher and a volunteer firefighter Zibura has spent years serving others. Now the Windsor resident is in need of help as he seeks a donor for a blood marrow transplant. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

WINDSOR — It’s been a whirlwind year for Adam Zibura.

In between his full-time job as a dispatcher at the state Regional Communications Center in Augusta and a side gig as a Windsor volunteer firefighter, he found time to dash off to New Hampshire in August for his honeymoon.

But shortly after returning home, Zibura started feeling ill and having difficulty breathing.

Doctors initially thought he was having an asthma flare-up, he said. But after having blood work done, the results were much worse.

He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that starts in the bone marrow.

And now the Windsor resident, who has spent years in service to others, needs a helping hand himself. The 32-year-old Zibura must find a match for a bone marrow transplant as his best chance of ridding his body of cancer.

Regional Communications Center dispatcher Adam Zibura handles a call earlier this year in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

Michael Labbe, operations manager at the communications center who helped train Zibura and has worked with him for the past five years, said he was floored by the diagnosis.

“I was devastated, really. We all were at the center,” Labbe said. “We’re a team; we’re kind of a family away from our family.”

Because of a rare genetic condition called Bloom syndrome, which increases the likelihood of developing cancer, Zibura needs a 100% genetic match to safely undergo a bone marrow transplant.

Friend and co-worker Trevor Strout and Zibura’s wife, Angelia Zibura, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for medical and other expenses, and to raise awareness about the need for a match. The fund has raised more than $8,000 toward a $10,000 goal.

Anyone under the age of 40 can visit www.bethematch.org to send in a cotton swab from their cheek to be entered in the donor registry. Zibura’s doctors in Boston check the site regularly looking for a match while Zibura is undergoing chemotherapy.

“As soon as I get a donor and the cancer’s that low, I’m ready for a transplant,” Zibura said. “They could help me or someone else throughout the world.”

The Somerset County Communications Center and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office have donated heating oil to Zibura.

Dispatchers at the Augusta center and from elsewhere have been participating in collections and were able to provide Zibura with a $500 gift card to Hannaford and another $500 gift card to Irving Oil.

A benefit dinner and Be The Match donor registration drive will be held at The Red Barn in Augusta from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Zibura takes his job seriously and is “excellent at what he does,” Labbe said.

“Adam does a phenomenal job and he cares. He’s a great dispatcher,” he said.

Zibura is on medical leave but will certainly have a job to return to when he recovers.

“He will always be employed there,” Labbe said. “The director and I both agree that Adam will be with us until he tells us he can’t be with us anymore.”

Zibura said he is feeling “pretty good” while undergoing chemotherapy. He said he’s tired and just trying to follow medical advice by eating a lot, staying hydrated and resting.

Zibura has always loved helping people and has been a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Windsor since he was 18 years old, like his father and uncle before him.

While working as a corrections officer at the Kennebec County jail, Zibura came upon the opportunity to work at the Regional Communications Center, one of the three state communications centers under the Maine Department of Public Safety. He said he went for a walkthrough of the center at midnight and found his calling.

“They had some calls come in, and I kind of loved it,” Zibura said. “So I applied, got the job and have been doing it for six-plus years and still love it.”

Every single call is different, making the job exciting and fulfilling by helping people handle their stress in difficult situations, Zibura said.

The most unusual call he fielded was for Maine’s first deadly shark attack off Harpswell in July 2020, he said.

Dispatchers at the communications center have been keeping in contact with Zibura to offer support, Labbe said.

“We’re all worried about him,” he said. “We’re all pulling for him that hopefully he gets his match.”


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