LAKE ORION, Mich. (FOX 2) - A devastating diagnosis for an Oakland County Sheriff's deputy is bringing his community together like never before.
Deputy Bob Loken was just diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer - but he's not fighting alone.
"It's so touching. The outpouring of love and support for our family has been, it has touched our hearts so deeply," he said. "It has really made this so bearable and really just gives us so much hope for me knowing through this battle that my family is going to be OK and things are going to work out."
He's gotten support from his kids' lacrosse teams who helped make these t-shirts, to members of the community and countless law enforcement agencies - and especially Bob's fellow K-9 handlers who have become like family over the years, like West Bloomfield K-9 officer Joe Miller.
"He became a big brother and as well like a mentor to me, so when I heard that he had got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer I'll be honest with you, even since then, there have been a lot of tears shed. A lot of nights as far as just, I wish there was something more I could do," Miller said.
Officer Miller joined forces with other police departments to do what they can.
They surprised Bob with a police car parade. Dozens of K-9 officers waved, honked and drove by, blaring their sirens as Bob stood in the front yard of his Lake Orion home.
They've also started a Loken Strong website selling supportive signs, T-shirts and car magnets to raise money for Bob and his family as he focuses on battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
"The littlest things, the littlest gifts, the littlest kinds words, the littlest message just come at the perfect times. So many times we hit the mental wall and all of a sudden I'd be somewhere and I see somebody who sent us prayers, or a Loken Strong sign in the community," Bob said.
"I need to get awareness out there, I want to be able to raise money for them. But my ultimate goal and really kind of what I'm envisioning is when they turn down the street they see a Loken Strong yard sign. They are driving down the interstate, pull up behind a car and there's a Loken Strong magnet on the back of that car as they're driving to one of his treatments," Miller said.
Bob plans to fight every step of the way and one day hopes to get back to work as a master trainer, running the Oakland K-9 police academy and arson investigator. Until then he is thankful for every bit of love and support.
"People donate money and stuff. We don't want to use any of it. We want to go back to our simple life, we really do, but I'm about to be off work for short-term disability. She is working less so, the longterm it's so needed for everything."