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September 19, 2011
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Ariz. officer dies after 3 years fighting disease

Mark Kelly, 32, continued to work after the diagnosis in order to support his family

By PoliceOne Staff

MESA, Ariz. — An officer died Sunday after spending 3 years fighting a debilitating disease that relegated him to a desk job at his department.

Mark Kelly, 32, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2008 after suffering extreme fatigue, according to The Arizona Republic. Sources say during a trip to the shooting range, he was too weak to pull the trigger.

Colleagues and city workers, many of whom Kelly had never met, donated vacation time so he could maintain benefits and remain on the city payroll. As his mobility became more limited – ALS causes gradual paralysis – Kelly continued to work at a computer taking reports in order to support his wife and five children.

Police unions and administrators fought to allow Kelly to continue to work when the city attempted to eliminate his job in 2010.

"There's always somebody that's broken, that's hurt and needs something more," said Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead. "It's our job, as well as on the humanistic end, that we as an organization look out for these people. You just can't write people off."

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