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Morgan County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, family finding strength in love after ALS diagnosis

"It gives you hope and it let's you know that you're not in this fight alone," said Sgt. Chris Dillard, diagnosed with ALS.

Posted: Jul 16, 2021 6:14 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2021 4:00 PM

Imagine getting a terminal diagnosis after serving your community for more than 20 years.

That's exactly what happened to Sgt. Chris Dillard with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office. He was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. But he and his family are far from giving up hope.

Rebecca and Morgan County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Chris Dillard

"In the back of my mind, that was my worst fear," said Chris, who was diagnosed with ALS on June 22. 

"I'd actually had a muscle twitch on my shoulder and it would come and go and then it stayed and I went to the doctor and of course got referred to a number of other physicians and finally got a diagnosis of ALS."

"It's a hard blow because he's the only person I depend on. He's my rock and to know that ALS is a terminal illness...We've got 25 years coming up and we were supposed to have another 25 more, so it's just hard to accept that we possibly won't have that 25 more," said Rebecca Dillard, Chris' wife. "

One of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my 49 years was tell my son and my daughter my diagnosis," said Chris.

Chris said he's already showing symptoms of his disease. 

"Major muscle and nerve twitching, muscle spasms, muscle atrophy, sometimes ... very slurred speech," said Chris. 

"It's hard going from being an avid hunter, always in the woods and avid outdoors man so its just a different life. A different reality," said Rebecca.

One of the positives, the support pouring in. 

"It gives you hope and it let's you know that you're not in this fight alone," said Chris. 

Letters, cards and prayers have come in from people all across the US. 

"The love and support that we've received from our family and friends, and the public, people that don't even know us. Even the smallest gestures, that's huge. You don't forget about things like that," said Chris.

Chris and Rebecca say they're taking life day by day, making time for the important things, like family and faith. 

"Just spending more family time together because he could be gone in a blink of an eye," said Rebecca. 

"We take every day for granted, I know I did. I don't any more. The little things. Getting to hold my wife's hand. That's a big deal and so I take every opportunity to think about the things I won't be able to do and I'm doing them now."

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