Steamboat police detective is ready to battle cancer
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Less than a week after being diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to his brain, Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Jeff Wilson was back at work as he waited for test results.
“We are obviously still waiting to see what I’m looking at as far as treatment and recovery,” Wilson said. “This is just a little bump in the way of what I need to do in life, because I still have a family to raise, a wife to love and a career to finish.”
Wilson’s family includes wife, Michelle, 10-year-old son Cannon and daughter Tarah, who works in the emergency department at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Wilson came to Steamboat Springs in 2011 after a 15-year stint in law enforcement in the Wichita, Kansas, metro area. A little more than a year ago, Wilson was promoted to detective sergeant and has worked several high-profile cases, including the Alpine Lumber and Old Town Hot Springs burglaries.
In addition to his work as an investigator, he has been responsible for setting up and leading rapid response training inside the Steamboat Springs High School to ensure that first responders are prepared for the worst-case scenario of an active shooter. He is also a volunteer with the North Routt Fire Department.
Recently, Wilson said he started experiencing some headaches but didn’t think that it was anything serious. He chalked it up to a self-diagnosed concussion.
“I had had some pretty good thumps on the head a month or so earlier,” Wilson said. “I started having some headaches … and then I started noticing that my right hand wasn’t writing as well as it used to.”
On July 11, Wilson decided to have a CT scan performed at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center to see if he was suffering from more than a concussion. When the results came back, doctors gave him some bad news.
“They ended up telling me that there wasn’t anything trauma-related, but that I had lung cancer, and it had spread into the brain,” Wilson said.
Wilson headed to Denver the next day and spent nearly a week at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora having tests done and being evaluated by doctors.
Doctors performed biopsies, and Wilson is waiting for the results before the oncologists, neurosurgeons and other professionals can come up with the best plan of attack in his battle against cancer.
“We have so many questions that can’t be answered yet and are waiting as patiently as we can,” Wilson wrote on his GoFundMe page. “You can bet your ass that this will be a fight I will win, with an abundance of stubbornness.”
In addition to his position at the Steamboat Springs Police Department, Wilson is proud of his service with the North Routt Fire Department and his connection to the community where he lives.
Wilson said the members of the volunteer fire department dropped everything to provide him with a ride to Aurora on Friday. Then the next day, they brought Wilson’s son, daughter and wife to be with him and drove the family car down, so the Wilsons would have transportation while they were there and a way to get home when the tests were finished.
“The support has just been amazing,” Wilson said.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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