Mesa police officers soon will be helping one of their own during a fundraiser at a popular rustic steakhouse restaurant where you can throw your peanut shells on the floor.
From 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, numerous Mesa police officers will be waiting tables as part of its Tip-A-Cop event at the Texas Roadhouse, 1605 S. Stapley Road.
The fundraiser will benefit Mesa police Officer Mark Kelly and his family, whom the department and its union have supported during a critical time. The proceeds from the tips officers receive will go toward Kelly and his family.
Kelly, 33, has been battling ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
A 1997 Mesa High School graduate, Kelly had worked for the Mesa Police Department for a little more than four years, but has not been on the job since nearly a year ago due to his condition.
He no longer can speak, uses a computer to communicate, lies in a hospital bed, has lost the use of his limbs and receives his meals through a feeding tube. It has also become difficult for Kelly to blink, and in order to say yes or no he moves his mouth a certain way.
ALS is a terminal neurological disease that destroys the nerve connections between muscles and the brain, eventually robbing the patient of his ability to walk, speak, swallow or breathe.
Kelly has a wife, Liz, and five children.
There are about 400 people with ALS in Arizona, and 175 in Maricopa County, according to Kim Hughes, of the Arizona Chapter of the ALS Society. Nationally, about 5,000 people are diagnosed with ALS each year.
For more information about the upcoming Tip-A-Cop event, visit www.officerassistancefund.com
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