Community Rallies Around Deputy Fighting Cancer

Amherst Co., VA - The Amherst County Community is rallying around a deputy given just months to live.

Mac McAllister was diagnosed in June with late stage pancreatic cancer.

Next Saturday, the sheriff's office will host a benefit in his honor.

For McAllister, his 50s were supposed to be the prime of his life. Instead, he's going back and forth to chemo treatments.

McAllister isn't having to deal with cancer alone, though.

"[It's] somewhat unusual, a man his age, getting into this field of work that he had never had any exposure in," said Sheriff Jimmy Ayers.

Ayers says in the five years McAllister has worked as a deputy, he's been an example to others and more than made up for lost time.

In June, however, the clock started ticking when McAllister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given three months to live.

"He was one of us. This is a brotherhood. And we're going to take care of him," said Deputy E.W. Viar.

Viar came up with the idea to hold a benefit for McAllister to help out with medical bills. Word spread quickly from billboards to front porches.

"He was in here the week before last, on his way back from the doctor. He stopped into see us," said Dolly Coleman with the Ye Olde Antique Shoppe.

When the Ye Olde Antique Shoppe isn't handing out free lunches to deputies, they're selling tickets. Nearly 500 have been sold already.

"All of them are just like kids to us," Coleman said.

"We're family," Ayers said.

"His prognosis looks bad. But there's only one thing that can take you away," Viar said, pointing up. "And hopefully he won't."

After being diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2005, Viar is now in remission and holding onto hope for his friend.

"As a long enforcement officer, that's the legacy you've left behind, what you've done for mankind," Ayers said.

Deputy McAllister plans to attend the benefit. It's being held Saturday, August 24 at the Madison Heights Community center.

Several musicians are donating their talent and businesses have donated raffle items.