Fundraiser underway for DeKalb cop working through chemo

Donations are rolling in for a Brookhaven police officer with stage-3 stomach cancer.

Joel Coward, who’s been with the force since 2015 after years with Gwinnett County police, was diagnosed in September with cancer, according to an online fundraising page

“As a police officer, Joel has dedicated his career to protecting the communities he has served as well as being there for his fellow brothers and sisters in blue,” the page, which has been shared on Facebook by the city police, said. “His fellow officers describe Joel as one of the most upbeat and caring people they know.”

In September, the officer, who is a Navy veteran and has a toddler, began noticing rapid weight loss and a weak appetite. 

Doctors found a tumor “the size of a grapefruit.” 

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"Joel is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments to aggressively fight the cancerous tumor while still working (light duty),” the page said. “The treatment plan is to continue chemo into 2017 then attempt to remove the tumor from his stomach. This surgery will cause Joel to be placed on disability during his recovery (and substantial decrease in his salary).” 

By early Friday afternoon, the page had brought in more than $18,000 of a $25,000 goal.

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