TRA 2017 Police Awards Recipient
Police Officer Jospeh Avanzato first noticed a potential health problem back in mid-July 2010 while working the night platoon in the First Precinct that he was extremely and uncharacteristically exhausted all of the time. After meeting with his physician and submitting blood tests in August 2010, his 31st birthday, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and was immediately admitted to the hospital for treatment. A grueling six-week regimen of chemotherapy did not go well as he subsequently developed a staph infection while hospitalized. The initial six-week hospital stay was prolonged to three and a half months as the staph infection was extremely virulent and progressed to the point where Officer Avanzato became paralyzed.In October 2010 chemotherapy was stopped and Officer Avanzato was transferred to the ICU Unit where he was put on a respirator for life support and was in and out of consciousness. Dr. Bruce Hirsch, a specialist in Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine, was brought in and it was determined they would administer one last round of antibiotics and that if his body didn’t respond positively to this new therapy, he would have approximately three days left to live.
Thankfully Officer Avanzato responded well to the new medication which eradicated the staph infection. By the end of October 2010, he was transferred to Glen Cove Hospital for physical therapy to regain the use of his arms and legs and to re-learn how to walk. In January 2011, Officer Avanzato was strong enough to resume chemotherapy as an outpatient. In February 2012, Officer Avanzato returned to work on restricted assignment while continuing his monthly chemotherapy. By October 2012, while still maintaining his monthly chemotherapy, he returned to full duty. Currently Officer Avanzato’s leukemia is considered to be in remission with his chemotherapy concluded in February 2014. He currently works as one of our Uniondale Schools Resource officers.
Police Officer Joseph Avanzato is a true testament to the perseverance and professionalism of the members of the Nassau County Police Department. During the course of his 15-month battle with leukemia, particularly when his life hung in the balance, Police Officer Avanzato held himself in quiet grace, never giving up, always displaying the will to continue and ultimately with the intent to return back to fulfill his sworn duty serving the residents of Nassau County.
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