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Terminally Ill Police Officer Will Keep His Job

Terminally Ill Police Officer Will Keep His Job

East Valley Tribune via YellowBrix

January 21, 2010

MESA, AZ – A Mesa police officer diagnosed with a terminal illness will get to remain on the job.

Officer Mark Kelly, 30, said he was told by assistant police Chief John Meza last week that city officials told him Kelly can no longer work for the Mesa Police Department because of his medical condition. Kelly was told by city officials on Wednesday he will keep his job, said Bryan Soller, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Mesa Lodge No. 9, and Mesa City Manager Chris Brady.

In April, Kelly was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a terminal neurological disorder that destroys the nerve connections between muscles and the brain. He was given two to five years to live.

The Mesa Police Association and the Fraternal Order of Police Mesa Lodge No. 9, the city’s two police unions, reached a resolution for Kelly with the city on Wednesday that allows him to remain on the job and keep his benefits, Soller said.

“I am trying to protect my family financially in the event of my death,” Kelly said. “The longer I am on the job, the more my public safety retirement pension will be. There needs to be some kind of policy in place when officers come down with certain types of conditions or illnesses.”

The two police unions, which usually disagree on issues, worked together for Kelly to remain on the job, Soller said.

“Today’s a good day,” Soller said of the city’s decision to work something out that allows Kelly to remain on the job as long as he’s physically capable. “We came up with a plan. It’s been in the works since October. We’re very pleased with the city’s decision to keep him on the job and help his family out.”

Kelly, 30, who has been an officer for five years, said he was told last week he no longer could work for the department and that he would have to take an early retirement.

Kelly said he was faced with the thought of having to ride out his remaining 275 hours of vacation and personal comp time before relying on hours of vacation and medical leave donated to him by his colleagues.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    I cannot even imagine being told I have a terminal illness with a child on the way. God bless his family.

  • 432nd_tfw_patch_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Wow, I'll have to pass along a card to officer Kelly tomorrow. The station is only a few blocks away from me. We'll have to keep him in our prayers. I'm glad that he is still allowed to provide for his family.

  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    God bless Officer Kelly and his family, it's terrible that he has that destroying his body.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    God bless you, Officer Kelly, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    It sounds to me like Officer Kelly is not only an asset to his department but an inspiration to all around him. Keep up the good fight partner. We're praying for you.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 4 years ago

    43638 Comments Thanks to chrissanders this is the link if anyone wants to help.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    He should be able to keep his job no matter what sickness he has.He serves for us to protect us so why would anyone take this from him at the worst time of his life.He has a family who will be hurting once he is gone and why not them let their father be remembered who took care of them until the end.He has every right to keep his job and no one has the right to take it from him.
    I feel I am only a citizen,who obeys the law and the law should be the same for those who work the law.
    God Bless You Officer Kelly and Your Family.I hope one day they find a cure for this kind of sickness and others should think what if it was them.
    God Bless,Stay Safe,Always & Forever.
    You are truely a HERO in my heart.

  • Dsc00204_max50


    over 4 years ago


    He should be commended, he is strong for hanging in there as long as he can. Here is some info in it.
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this degenerative neurological condition.
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a serious neurological disease that causes muscle weakness, disability and eventually death. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the famous baseball player who died of it in 1941.

    Worldwide, ALS occurs in one to three people per 100,000. An inherited form of the disease occurs in 5 to 10 percent of the cases. But in the vast majority of cases, doctors don't yet know why ALS occurs in some people and not in others.

    ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in an arm or leg, or with slurring of speech. Eventually, ALS affects your ability to control the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe.

    Early signs and symptoms of ALS include:

    Difficulty lifting the front part of your foot and toes (footdrop)
    Weakness in your leg, feet or ankles
    Hand weakness or clumsiness
    Slurring of speech or trouble swallowing
    Muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue
    The disease frequently begins in your hands, feet or limbs, and then spreads to other parts of your body. As the disease advances, your muscles become progressively weaker until they're paralyzed. It eventually affects chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing.

    In ALS, the nerve cells that control the movement of your muscles gradually die, so your muscles progressively weaken and begin to waste away. Up to one in 10 cases of ALS is inherited. But the remainder appears to occur randomly.

    Researchers are studying several possible causes of ALS, including:

    Free radicals. The inherited form of ALS often involves a mutation in a gene responsible for producing a strong antioxidant enzyme that protects your cells from damage caused by free radicals — the byproducts of oxygen metabolism.
    Glutamate. People who have ALS typically have higher than normal levels of glutamate, a chemical messenger in the brain, in their spinal fluid. Too much glutamate is known to be toxic to some nerve cells.
    Autoimmune responses. Sometimes, a person's immune system begins attacking some of his or her body's own normal cells, and scientists have speculated that such antibodies may trigger the process that results in ALS.
    Risk factors
    ALS risk factors may include:

    Heredity. Up to 10 percent of the people who have ALS inherited it from their parents. If you have this type of ALS, your children have a 50-50 chance of developing the disease.
    Age. ALS most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60.
    Sex. Before the age of 65, more men than women develop ALS. This sex difference disappears after age 70.
    Geography. People living in Guam, West New Guinea and parts of Japan have an increased risk of developing ALS. Dietary factors may be to blame.
    Military service. Recent studies indicate that people who have served in the military are at higher risk of ALS.
    As the disease progresses, people with ALS experience one or more of the following complications:

    Breathing problems
    ALS eventually paralyzes the muscles needed to breathe. Some devices to assist your breathing are worn only at night and are similar to devices used by people who have sleep apnea. In the latter stages of ALS, some people choose to have a tracheostomy and use the full-time help of a respirator that inflates and deflates their lungs.

    The most common cause of death for people with ALS is respiratory failure, usually within three to five years after symptoms begin.

    Eating problems
    When the muscles that control swallowing are affected, people with ALS can develop malnutrition and dehydration. They are also at higher risk of aspirating food, liquids or secretions into the lungs, which can cause pneumonia. A feeding tube can reduce these risks.

    People with ALS are at higher risk of developing:

    Frontotemporal dementia
    Alzheimer's disease
    Preparing for your appointment
    If you're having some of the early signs and symptoms of a neuromuscular disease such as ALS, you might first consult your family doctor, who will listen to your description of symptoms and do an initial physical examination. Then your doctor will probably refer you to a neurologist for further evaluation.

    What you can do
    Once you're under the care of a neurologist, it may still take time to establish the diagnosis. If you've been referred to an academic medical center, your evaluation may involve a team of neurologists and other doctors specializing in different aspects of motor neuron disease.

    While a thorough workup usually means you're getting top-notch care, the process can be stressful and frustrating unless your medical team keeps you informed. These strategies may give you a greater sense of control.

    Keep a symptom diary. Before you see a neurologist, start using a calendar or notebook to jot down the time and circumstances each time you notice problems with walking, hand coordination, speech, swallowing or involuntary muscle movements. Your observations may reveal a pattern pointing to a specific diagnosis.
    Find one 'go-to' neurologist or neurology nurse specialist. If you see more than one doctor and visit more than one department, you need a coordinator who's familiar with your overall situation, willing to answer your questions and prepared to make your concerns known to the other people involved in your care. Your family doctor or the neurologist who orders your tests and subspecialty consultations may be the best candidate, but in some institutions, care coordination is the responsibility of a nurse, social worker or case manager.
    What to expect from your doctor
    Your family doctor will carefully review your family's medical history and your signs and symptoms. Your neurologist and your family doctor may both check your neurological health by testing:

    Muscle strength
    Muscle tone
    Senses of touch and sight
    Tests and diagnosis
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is difficult to diagnose early because it may appear similar to several other neurological diseases. Tests to rule out other conditions may include:

    Electromyogram. This test measures the tiny electrical discharges produced in muscles. A fine wire electrode is inserted into the muscles that your doctor wants to study. An instrument records the electrical activity in your muscle as you rest and contract the muscle. This test is mildly uncomfortable for most people.
    Nerve conduction study. For this test, electrodes are attached to your skin above the nerve or muscle to be studied. A small shock is passed through the nerve to measure the strength and speed of nerve signals.
    MRI. Using radio waves and a powerful magnetic field, MRI can produce detailed images of your brain and spinal cord. It involves lying on a movable bed that slides into a tube-shaped machine, which makes loud thumping and banging noises during operation. Some people feel uncomfortable in the confined space.
    Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). This test analyzes the fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid). You typically lie on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest. A local anesthetic is injected in an area over your lower spine to reduce any discomfort from the procedure. Then a needle is inserted into your spinal canal, and fluid is collected.
    Blood and urine tests. Analyzing samples of your blood and urine in the laboratory may help your doctor eliminate other possible causes of your signs and symptoms.
    Muscle biopsy. If your doctor believes you may have a muscle disease rather than ALS, you may undergo a muscle biopsy. In this procedure, a small portion of muscle is removed while you're under local anesthesia and is sent to a lab for analysis.
    Treatments and drugs
    Because there's no reversing the course of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, treatments mainly involve efforts to slow the progression of symptoms and make you more comfortable and independent.

    The drug riluzole (Rilutek) is the first and only medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for slowing ALS. The drug appears to slow the disease's progression in some people, perhaps by reducing levels of glutamate — a chemical messenger in the brain.

    Your doctor may also prescribe medications to provide relief from:

    Muscle cramps
    Excessive salivation
    Excessive phlegm

    Physical therapy. A physical therapist can recommend low-impact exercises to maintain your muscle strength and range of motion as long as possible, helping you preserve a sense of independence.
    Occupational therapy. An occupational therapist can help you become accustomed to a brace, walker or wheelchair and may be able to suggest devices such as ramps that make it easier for you to get around.
    Speech therapy. Because ALS affects the muscles you use to speak, communication becomes an issue as the disease progresses. A speech therapist can help teach techniques to make your speech more clearly understood. Later in the disease, a speech therapist can recommend devices such as speech synthesizers and computers that may help you communicate.
    Coping and support
    Learning you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis can be devastating. The following tips may help you and your family cope:

    Take time to grieve. The news that you have a fatal condition that will rob you of your mobility and independence is often nothing less than shocking. If you are newly diagnosed, you and your family will likely experience a period of mourning and grief.
    Be hopeful. Some people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis live much longer than the three to five years typically associated with this condition. Some live 10 years or more. Keeping hope alive is vital for people with ALS.
    Think beyond the physical changes. ALS doesn't typically affect the intellect or spirit. Many people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis lead rich, rewarding lives. Try to think of ALS as only one part of your life, not your entire identity.
    Join a support group. You may find comfort in sharing your concerns in a support group with others who have ALS. Your family members and friends helping with your care also may benefit from a support group of others who care for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Find support groups in your area by talking to your doctor or by contacting the ALS Association.
    Make decisions now about your future medical care. Planning for the future allows you to be in control of decisions about your life and your care. With the help of your doctor or hospice nurse, you can decide whether or not you want certain life-extending procedures. And you can determine where you want to spend your final days. Talking about these issues isn't easy. But facing your anxieties about the future may help you better enjoy life today.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    A good story where both the P.D. and the city government have worked together for the greater good !!! Stay strong, Officer Kelly !!!

  • Dsc_0311_small_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good for you stay strong! God Bless!

  • Cpusey-001_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Keep fighting........

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Keep up the good fight Officer Kelly. Glad to hear they agreed on this matter.

  • Dh_max50


    over 4 years ago


    its about time that we see an officer be able to hold his job under the circumstances hes got way to go ive seen officers take an early retirement and not be able to hold things together and its sad we should do more for the officers who choose to lay their life on the line to help someone else in need

  • Blending__can_t_see_me_can_you__sq90_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Well played on the part of the city and department, very well played and that's a strong minded person that still works and stays focused while facing the end I could only hope that I would be able to handle the knowledge of my pending demise with such grace and courage.

  • 14600_10200352713679693_171098802_n_max50


    over 4 years ago


    God Bless You Officer Kelly!! Way to Keep Fighting!!!

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