LIGHTHOUSE POINT (CBSMiami) – A retired city clerk is giving away all her savings to help volunteer fire departments all over the country.

Carol Landau learned in January of this year that she was terminally ill. She has growing, inoperable tumors affecting her abdominal organs.

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Instead of treating it as a death sentence, Laundau decided to make it the opportunity of her lifetime.

After seeing the budget struggles of volunteer fire departments she decided it was the best use of her hard-earned funds.

“I know how hard it is for small municipal governments after being in government 25 years. It took us three years to raise money for a jaws of life…a year to save for a stretcher,” said Landau. “With the time I’ve been given I’m trying to do the best I can to add to other people’s lives.”

Landau was a clerk in Lighthouse Point and before that worked in several small Texas communities.

Her checks have paid for six sets of gear for the Madray Springs, Georgia volunteer department. Another fire chief decided he had to meet his benefactor in person.

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So Chief Derrick Duncan drove from southeast Georgia to South Florida on Thursday, to pick up a jaws of life paid for from Landau’s donations.

“She’s awesome. I’ve gained a friend. And I had to drive here to thank her myself. It’s unbelievable she would think that much and provide for us,” said Duncan who had lunch with Landau on Deerfield Beach Friday.

Landau has started a blog that will live on, www.carolsadventures.com. It is full of pictures and stories of the people she’s helping.

Strangers have written to thank her for her generosity.

One fire chief wrote Landau, “May the rest of your journey here on earth be as peaceful as it can possibly be.”

“I am at peace. I’ve had health issues all my life. I knew this was coming and I’m prepared for it. I’m living every day to the fullest,” said Landau.

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“I’m doing this because I want to raise awareness to the needs of firefighters. I want people to understand if you have one hundred, or ten dollars, help your local fire department. Save their lives so they can save other lives.”