This is update 2.0. CopBlue ran this story about Pensacola Officer, Stephen Grogan in the first week of February, 2019. It’s now January 30, 2020.
During the past year, the Crew here at CopBlue stayed in touch with Steve. Phone calls, texts, emails all of the usual suspects every few weeks. A little over a week ago, we connected on the phone. He didn’t sound his usual, chipper, smart-assed self. So, I asked: wassup?
“I saw the doctor last week after they did another MRI. He said I’ve got less than two months.”
It was that sucker-punch to the head that I knew might come. Yet, I had prayed my guts out that it wouldn’t.
I reminded him that I love him and that he and his family will never be alone. With that, the call was over.
I promptly called the Chief’s office. After explaining about me and CopBlue, the Chief was on the line in a flash. “What can we do?” I asked. He said money is tight for them because Christina hasn’t been able to work for many months as she is the sole care-giver of Steve and their two sons ages five and two.
I was told that a trip was being planned taking Stephen to Strands Hospital in Gainesville to see if he can be included in an experimental program. The Chief termed it a “Hail Mary” effort. Grogans could use help covering their hotel bill while in Gainesville.
After gathering my thoughts, I made a call to someone who is a good listener and whom I thought could help. He did – in spades.
The trip to Gainesville happened today. I was there with Stephen. I will finish the update at the back end of this real-life tragedy about our Brother.
WE ARE FIXERS
Men are wired to fix things.
In addition, we are cops. Fixing things is what we’ve been trained to do, instinctively.
That trait in me often angers my wife. Sometimes, she just wants to run off at the mouth, complaining about this or that. But, she doesn’t want me to fix her problem. “Just listen to me,” she says.
This news is about a cop who has a serious problem. It can’t be fixed. All that any of us can do is cushion the pain. I’ve been in a knot since I learned the news:
This is about a cop named, Stephen Grogan. He is dying. He could be gone before the week is out or it may be months into the future. Only God knows.
It all began in 2017 when Officer Grogan began having severe headaches while on patrol. He was just 31 years old. He is married to the love of his life, Christina. They are both US Marine Combat Veterans (2007-2014). They have two little boys, Tristan (5) and Camden (2).
He says it never crossed his mind that it was cancer. It is Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), to be specific. It is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. It affects about 22,000 Americans each year.
“I’ve been working the whole time, did patrol for a little while, came off patrol, and I’ve been working in training and accreditation, still a police officer – just doing a different job,” Officer Grogan explained.
After brain surgery, Grogan endured multiple treatments of radiation and chemotherapy.
This father of two very young sons returned to work and was feeling good, but then cancer came calling again.
After a visit to the doctor early in January, he got the same diagnosis.
Doctors found the tumor had turned into a more aggressive one. His last MRI on 01/07/2019 showed a tumor. The new tumor is located inside his corpus callosum in both left and right hemispheres of his brain. He has been given a diagnosis of less than a year.
UPDATE: Steve underwent an MRI in November. He had another one on 01/14/20. The report: the tumor has grown in size. It is now costing him his memory and he is having more seizures.
Because of the location of the tumor, he is not eligible for surgery and now has to depend on a clinical trial to save his life.
“Life expectancy, it’s a big shrug of the shoulders when it comes to a recurrence because it may happen in a couple weeks, it may happen in a year, but it is almost one hundred percent fatal,” Grogan added.
Stephen says while this battle is personal, making it public is part of fighting back.
“I beat the statistic so far, I’m very hard to kill,” Grogan said.
And he’s not alone in his fight. He has faith, his blood family and his family in Blue.
In Pensacola, FL, there is a structure called the “Graffiti Bridge.” It goes over the top of a heavily traveled road in the community and people (largely young folks) have covered it in graffiti as far back as most can recall.
On a recent Sunday morning, folks awoke to find it totally covered in black with a Blue stripe. There were numerous words of encouragement for Stephen Grogan, badge #178 in the Pensacola Police Department.
Please watch this video:
The following (in part) is from Facebook.
It has been a tough week around here (Pensacola PD). On Tuesday, we found out one of our own, Officer Stephen Grogan, was given some devastating news. It’s easier to just start from the beginning.
Stephen spent seven years in the USMC as a Captain, where he saw combat before coming home. He settled here with his wife, also a former Marine, and their new son.
He landed a safe, well-paying, white-collar job that would be the envy of any young man with a family. The kind of job where folks don’t call you bad names and you don’t wear other people’s bodily fluids home. But something kept gnawing at him. He just felt that he had more to offer.
He made one phone call and asked a thousand questions. Almost immediately, Stephen made the decision that he wanted to continue to serve his country and community as a police officer. A Pensacola Police Officer.
Officer Grogan had a family background in police work, as his father had served as a police officer himself. He approached his new job with zeal and a great sense of duty, coupled with aspirations to make this new public servant job a lifelong career.
Within a year of Stephen becoming a solo patrol officer, he began experiencing debilitating headaches. He went to the doctor and received unimaginable news. At merely 31 years of age, Officer Grogan was diagnosed with GBM, a rare form of aggressive and recurring brain cancer.
Without treatment, the expected survival rate for this form of cancer was less than three months. Even with treatment, the outlook was bleak, with people commonly surviving only about a year and very few people surviving five years or longer.
Stephen moved forward with treatment and underwent brain surgery. The doctors told him they were able to remove the majority of the tumor, and chemotherapy and medical scans would be the ongoing treatment required.
As soon as his head healed from the surgery, Officer Grogan was anxious to get back on the streets. Unfortunately, Stephen experienced a seizure and was informed that if he came back to work it would have to be in a limited duty status. He accepted this new job assignment without complaint, making the best of his desk job and approaching his duties with his usual positive attitude.
After some time in this position, Officer Grogan was medically released to return to patrol duties. When another unexpected seizure placed him back in an administrative position, Officer Grogan was still committed to serving with the police department. As he continued his treatments for cancer, he and his family were blessed to experience the birth of another son.
About two years after the initial cancer diagnosis, things appeared to be going well for the Grogan family.
Tragically, this happy ending was not long lived as Stephen was recently informed that the GBM is back. The prognosis is not good, with limited treatment options. The doctors have offered a sobering life expectancy.
LOOK AT HIM
Stephen is not old man who’s already lived seven or eight decades. He’s not a fat, out-of-shape smoker who has abused his body all his life.
Stephen Grogan is a young, in-shape and good-looking guy. My wife saw his picture in uniform and she says he’s “hot.” I informed her that he’s married with two sons.
He is a top-notch cop – the kind of cop authors write books about. Maybe even a town hero.
IN A FEW WEEKS HE WILL BE GONE
Look at him again. He could be you or one of your brothers. In my case, he could be my son.
The fact is this: GROGAN IS OUR BROTHER.
He is one of the guys we promised to take a bullet for.
The question now: What the hell are we going to do for him?
How do we fix this? Short answer: We don’t. Only the Big Guy (God) can turn this around, now.
All we can do is ease the pain of their loss by surrounding them as only our Brotherhood in Blue can do.
IN THIS FAMILY, NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE
We are Grogan’s Brothers in Blue. Here is what Stephen needs YOU to do:
- If you are a man/woman of faith: pray.
- If not, pray anyway.
It goes without saying that he is concerned about the wellbeing of his family once he’s gone. Money is tight. Christina hasn’t been able to work.
I will be COP-BLUNT: They need our financial support.
The Grogan family deserves to not worry about finances. They need to be able to focus on fighting this disease.
They want to enjoy the precious moments they have left with each other.
The time is short. Think of it the way you would respond to a call for a child who is choking and cannot breathe.
Time is of the essence.
CopBlue has set up a ‘Donation’ button in our store. You can get to it by clicking on the picture below:
NO DONATION IS TOO SMALL. ONE DOLLAR IS APPRECIATED.
You are welcome to use any major credit card, debit card and PayPal.
PLEASE, tell everyone you know. Talk about it a roll call. Post a copy of this article on the bulletin board at work.
Everyone knows cops from other agencies. Let them know, too. Just send an email with a link to this story. www.CopBlue.com/what-do-you-say-to-a-dying-cop-when-the-end-is-near/
If you want to send something in the mail, send it to the Chief who will get it to Stephen. His address:
Pensacola Police Department
711 N. Hayne St.
Pensacola, FL 32501
GROGAN NEEDS TO KNOW: HE IS NOT FIGHTING ALONE
Send him a greeting card of some sort. Enclose a gift certificate for Target, Walmart, Publix or any major retailer you choose.
Inundate the family with your prayers, your love and your support.
There isn’t a minute to waste. We could be hearing bagpipes and taps sooner than we want or expect.
Every one of us who has pinned on the badge knows how quickly a life can be snuffed-out. We’ve seen it happen at car wrecks and other horrible incidents.
Don’t allow your failure to respond to your Brother become the ache of regret that can’t be taken away.
Let’s show the world just how strong our Brotherhood is. We have gathered by the thousands at a cop’s funeral with processions that are miles long. Let’s demonstrate our caring now BEFORE Stephan is gone. Let’s help him protect his family.
I don’t care what method you choose, what matters is that you do SOMETHING to help this family that is dire straits.
What you choose to do is between you and God. All that He expects of us is that we do our best.
This family is depending on all of us. Please, don’t let them down.
Thank you in advance.
Chief Lyter sent two officers to Gainesville with Steve and Christina. Sgt. Eric Hubley is Steve’s sergeant. Officer Zach Harris is Steve’s closest friend. We met this morning at the Doubletree Hotel where they stayed last night.
I didn’t know what to expect of Steve. I had been told he was weak and not eating much. Seen that before; never looks good. I was happily surprised when I laid eyes of Steve for the first time.
I hugged him tight and unloaded what was in my heart. I tried not to cry; just marginally successful at that.
Then, the four of us cops sat down, did the customary challenge coin and patch exchange. That was followed by some questions, a few jokes and just hanging out. Kind of like hanging out at Police Week – but without beer.
A sergeant from Gainesville PD showed up followed by a couple of guys from the SO. Now there was six of us to tell stories, laugh and lie to each other for a while. Felt right at home.
Steve talked about what he can/can’t eat; things he wants to do, but can’t and some of the struggles of being constantly tired and weak. He’s had his fill of that.
All too soon, it was time for Steve to head to the appointment with the medical folks.
Again, we shook hands, exchanged pleasantries and then, I hugged Steve one more time. I held on for dear life and didn’t want to let him go. I tried to bolster his spirits; told him to call me anytime he wants to talk; looked him square in the eye and told him, “I love you, Brother. You will never be alone.”
Skipping ahead about five hours: We are home. I sat at my desk. I sent Christina a text, “… Please keep me posted on Steve’s situation. You are NOT ALONE.”
Then came the reply that I feared, “There’s nothing they can do. Let alone anyone else. We are now on hospice …” she continued, “Thank you for everything you have done.”
Steve is just 34 years old; a wife and two sons ages 5 and 2. The time he has left with his young family is measured in days.
Can you imagine … if that were you?
We need to surround him our love, our concern and whatever financial aid we can give. There is no time to waste.
God bless you all.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
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