Community supports officer battling ALS

Posted at 10:55 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-02 22:55:27-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich– Dozens of people gathered at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge Thursday to support Grand Rapids Police officer Scott Bylsma, who is fighting ALS.

Bylsma, who works in the department’s property and evidence room, was diagnosed with the disease about nine months ago.

“Started out basically as a big runner, tore up my calf a little bit and it progressively got worse to where I wasn’t able to use the functions of my right leg. I went in April 28th  and I was diagnosed by a neurologist at Spectrum with ALS,” Bylsma told FOX 17. “The second diagnosis came through Mercy Health just shortly after that.”

ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and eventually causes muscles to atrophy. It currently has no known cure.

Thursday’s benefit featured food from Three Men and a Grill, and beer from Founders Brewing Co. and Harmony Brewing Company.  There were also several musical performers.

Officer Bylsma told FOX 17 he was touched by how many people turned out to the benefit, adding his department is more like a family to him.

“Just because somebody’s down and out for a little bit you’re still strong together as a family so that’s the most meaningful thing for me,” said Bylsma. “They know I’ve got their back too, so if something were to happen with them or their family by all means I’d be there for them as well.”

If you didn’t get to attend Thursday’s benefit but would still like to help, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.