He was told he had two months to live.
“I was weak and unmotivated,” Fisher said, explaining the pain his medication had caused him upon being diagnosed. “I was miserable and mad that no one could tell me why or how I contracted this disease.”
Three years and extensive medication later, Fisher is defying those dismal odds, having recently been named as the Northern Nevada Man of the Year for 2008 by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Fisher, a deputy for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, has turned his ordeal into a mission to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which helps fund treatment research, education, family counseling, patient support and financial aid to others in similar situations.
Each dollar donated to the society got him one vote closer toward becoming the man of the year, as friends and family joined his effort and donated.
Deputy Brook Keast, a co-worker and long-time friend of Fisher, said his fight has always been selfless.
“I remember when he first got diagnosed and he didn’t want his younger brother (who was training to become part of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office) to find out,” Keast said. “He didn’t want his brother to be worried about him. He’s always looking out for other people.”
Following his diagnosis, Fisher said he was ultimately given two options for treatment: bone marrow transplant, where the chances of survival are low, or daily medication. Opting for daily medication, Fisher said he made several sacrifices, including giving up his favorite sport: motocross racing.
“The first year after the diagnosis was horrible,” Fisher said. “I had no energy and the medication made me throw up every time I took it.”
Other doubts soon clouded Fisher’s mind, as he said he began to worry about his chances of living a normal life.
“Not only did I have to worry about if I was going to live or not, but I didn’t know how long I would be engaged or even married,” Fisher said. “Could I ever have a family? Would I ever get another chance at moving up in my job?”
Happily married now to his wife and with a 7-month old daughter, Fisher has proven to himself that he is strong enough to get past his unfortunate situation. Since being diagnosed, the FDA has approved two more drugs to treat the illness, but Fisher said he has learned that there are no guarantees in life.
“Knowing that I may not make it to retirement age has taught me to appreciate everything I have,” said Fisher, who has recently begun motocross racing again.
And having served for the sheriff’s office for eight years, friends of Fisher said he never lost sight of simply helping other people.
“He’s the type of officer that you can trust and count on,” Keast said. “You know he always has your back.”
For more information about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or to make a donation, visit www.leukemia-lymphoma. org/hm_lls.
Fisher’s testimony courtesy of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.