Iredell Co. deputy battling stage 4 liver, colon cancer

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. - An Iredell County deputy, who has spent the majority of his life serving others, is now getting help from his coworkers in a time of great need.

Deputy Jeff Royall was recently diagnosed with stage four liver and colon cancer.

Royall was too sick to meet with Eyewitness News in person, but still agreed to talk over the phone.

"There's no words really to describe, to see people stepping up, and not only feel the need to but (they) want to assist," Royal said.

At 46 years old, Royall is fighting a battle doctors say he'll not likely survive.

"Half the people die with this in the first year. Within 2 1/2 years, a majority of everyone dies," Royal said.

The father of three said he's refusing to believe doctors reports.

Two years ago, he survived thyroid cancer and said he's strong enough to survive this. A big challenge now is finding money to pay for treatments. After next week, his vacation and sick time will run out.

"That means no paycheck so the officers and everybody here and many of the county employees will donate a lot of their time," said Maj. Darren Campbell with the Iredell County Sheriff's Office.

To help with the need, the town is allowing all county employees to donate their sick time. But Royall can only get a maximum of 12 weeks.

Officers have also created a Facebook page to raise more money when their sick time runs out.

"He looked just as healthy as me and you. There was no signs," said Lt. Ashley Hart with Iredell County Sheriff's Office.

Royal said his medical bills run an average of $1,000 per month. He's getting treatment at the American Cancer Society in Pennsylvania.

Doctors there are hopeful chemo will reduce the tumor so it can be removed.

Royall hopes so too and says he's optimistic he'll one day be back at work to thank his coworkers in person.