HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)- To be a police officer, you have to have heart and you have to be prepared for the unknown. Thankfully, Tampa Police Officer Matt McNeal has both qualities, so when he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, his reaction was true to his character.
“I’m ready to get scanned, I am ready to get checked, I am ready to do something I’ve never done before,” said McNeal.
The 33-year-old who is on the department’s bike squad, had been suffering from debilitating headaches.
One day McNeal passed out and was transported to Advent Health Hospital in Wesley Chapel. There, McNeal learned he had Gliomas, an aggressive form of brain cancer and would have to undergo surgery.
“They removed a 6-centimeter tumor on the left side of my head,” McNeal told WFLA.com.
Mcneal’s wife Amanda has been by his side through the lifechanging diagnosis.
“For me it has been a big adjustment just to know how to be there emotionally and physically and learning new doctors and appointments,” said Amanda McNeal.
The McNeal’s are also being supported by his community with nonprofit Rise Tampa raising funds for the family.
McNeal, a six-year veteran with the Tampa Police Department says the generosity of his colleagues has changed his outlook on life.
“It’s going to be a different type of affection towards people that I work with and people that I meet. Whether it’s low people or high people, I just want to embrace them and love them,” said McNeal.
McNeal is still waiting for test results to know exactly where his journey will take him next but he tells WFLA.com he’s ready to get back on his bike literally and figuratively.
“I love it, I love the group I am with, the family I have been assigned to. I am looking forward to getting back on my bicycle very soon so I can get back to patrolling in that aspect and meet people,” said McNeal.
To learn how you can donate to Matt McNeal click here.
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