Many have taken the ice bucket challenge for ALS right here in our area. The Daphne Police Department recently accepted an ice bucket challenge from FOX10 News meteorologist Chasity Byrd. Officers and employees with the Department have become very familiar with the disease over the last few weeks after one of their own was diagnosed with it.
ALS, is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and over time if affects communication between the brain and the muscles. Early stages can begin with a slight pain in the spine and lack of dexterity in the extremities. That’s how it began with Daphne Police Officer, Mike Dawson a year ago. He didn’t find out it was ALS until just a few weeks ago and since then, his brothers and sisters at the police department have been determined to help.
Officer Mike Dawson is a 10 year veteran patrol officer and was diagnosed with ALS just over a month ago. Employees not only accepted the ice bucket challenge in support of Officer Dawson, they’ve set up a fund to help him and his family with medical expenses. They’ve already raised over $400 in just a few days and have a goal of $10,000. Those who know Officer Dawson well hope others will help as he battles Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“We can’t cure it, but we can give him money to help make it easier for him and his family to cope with the medical bills,” said Dawson’s sergeant, Glenn Barr.
Barr and Dawson’s lieutenant, Kenny Hempfleng know Dawson well. Raised in Michigan, he moved south over 10 years ago to call Daphne home. He’s been a dedicated public servant and a face that many have probably seen around Daphne. He’s always been dedicated to his work and took many side jobs over the years.
“He’s a very likable person,” Hempfleng said. “He’s one of the kind of guys you meet and you like. He’s not somebody who’s standoffish. He’s very friendly, very nice, someone who wants to do his career and do a good job at it.”
It’s a career that has been cut much to short by a disease that has no known cure. To help Dawson and his family cope with medical bills and to make it possible for him to make a trip to Michigan to see his mother, several fund raisers are in the works. There is an account set up under “HELP 4 OFFICER MIKE DAWSON” at GO-FUND-ME.COM. The Daphne Police Department is also raffling off a custom hand crafted Iron Bowl chess set and a Tika hunting riffle. With the millions of dollars being raised all around the country through the ice bucket challenges, it’s given everyone that there may be hope for the future.
“It couldn’t have happened at a better time for us here in Daphne and for Mike,” said Barr. “It’s raised a lot of awareness. It’s got people opening up their hearts and their checkbooks to donate.”
Other fundraising events are being planned…one being a softball tournament and also a barbecue sale. Contact the Daphne Police Department for details on how you can contribute the the cause. For now Mike Dawson is at home on medical leave.