Brian McAmis sits in his home Friday. WRCBtv.com photo by Dan Kennedy
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
Sheriff's deputies spent their careers fighting crime. But now, a 16-year veteran of the Bradley County Sheriff's Department is fighting his own battle in overcoming a rare form of cancer.
Brian McAmis, 44, no longer has Von Hippel-Lindau cancer. But ridding his body of it came at a cost: vision in one eye and both his kidneys. He had his second kidney removed in November.
It's the same rare form of cancer that killed his dad; the same rare form of cancer that his two boys have a 50/50 chance of inheriting; and it's the same cancer that's putting a big strain on Deputy Brian McAmis.
McAmis takesdialysis three times a week, raises three kids ages 22, 20 and 17, and lives life with one kidney.
"This is the first Christmas in 22 years that I haven't been able to cut down our Christmas tree," he said.
Brian's starting the new year on unsteady ground. He just cashed his last paycheck with the county. Now, he's relying on Short Term Disability to help pay the bills. He admits he's struggling.
"He's just fallen on some hard times which could happen to any of us," said fellow Deputy Ron Dunn.
Deputy Ron Dunn set up an account to help Brian through life's expenses. Already, they've received a $2,000 donation to help fix Brian's broken heating and air.
"It's really changed my perception of people because in law enforcement, all you see is the bad, you don't really get to see the good in people," said McAmis.
He's not eligible for a kidney transplant until he has been cancer-free for two years. So, Brian continues his countdown to a new life: 1 year, 10 months, 1 week and 2 days.
"In two years I'll be well, in two years I'll get a kidney, in two years, I'll be back to normal," he said. "And I'll go above and beyond to help people."
If you can provide any financial assistance, an account has been set up for Brian McAmis at the Bank of Cleveland, or you can contact Ron Dunn of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office at 423-595-6769.
Larry Hill at Larry Hill Ford is donating a portion of the proceeds to McAmis during a car sale the second week of January.