VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Nine years ago, Kurtis Vogel fulfilled a lifelong dream when he joined the Virginia Beach Police Department.
“My father actually told me, 'don’t get into law enforcement,'” Vogel, who now works as a police detective, said. “He is a retired cop, but I decided to go against everything he said. It is just something I always wanted to do.”
Kurtis’ wife, Brianne Vogel, supported his career choice and tried to look past the dangers of policing. They have two young children together.
“It is hard,” Brianne said. “He comes home safe and the kids are super proud that their dad is a police officer.”
Kurtis’ biggest scare came off the clock in May 2021.
Brianne said Kurtis went in for a colonoscopy, and the doctor found a tumor. That's when a doctor diagnosed Kurtis with stage four colorectal cancer at age 36.
“They installed his port, and he was on chemo a few weeks later,” Brianne said. “He finished that, had his surgery and removed the tumor.”
Then things took a turn. The cancer spread to Kurtis’ liver. Now, every other week, Kurtis and Brianne travel three hours for treatment in North Carolina. Still, he puts on his badge day after day and goes out to protect his community.
“I love what I do. I love who I work with," Vogel said.
He said work is a healthy distraction from his treatment.
His dedication has been noticed by the community. Well wishes and food donations have been plentiful.
In addition to the food and wishes, Kurtis' close friend and coworker set up a GoFundMe for him.
As of Thursday, that GoFundMe had raised over $10,000 of its $30,000 goal
Kurtis’ gratitude for that support system is something that’s hard for him to put into words.
“I can’t thank everyone enough honestly,” Vogel said. “The support has been more than I ever expected. I never did anything, ever thinking or ever wanting anything in return, but people have really stepped up and showed who they are.”
Kurtis said he has no family history of cancer.
“I was never sick,” Vogel said. “I wasn’t sick when they diagnosed me.”
He hopes sharing his fight pushes other people to visit their doctor regularly.
“Get yourself checked out,” Vogel said. “There were symptoms that were kind of ignored -- although very minor -- that I think if I would have gotten them checked out, possibly would have identified earlier.”
Kurtis’ coworker is holding a golf tournament fundraiser in his honor on June 12.