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Former San Diego officer shares hopeful message as he battles disease

Alan Alvarez is battling progressive muscular atrophy
Alan Alvarez
alan alvarez
Posted at 6:50 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 22:52:15-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Alan Alvarez spent more than 30 years with the San Diego Police Department before a debilitating disease forced him into a wheelchair.

ABC 10News first interviewed Alvarez in January 2020, a couple months before the global pandemic.

“It was a very rewarding career,” Alvarez said .

Several years ago, he noticed his hands and legs weren’t moving correctly. After seeing several neurologists, he was diagnosed with progressive muscular atrophy. It is a rare motor neuron disease in the ALS family.

Over the course of the past year, his hands continued to get weaker and Alvarez now needs help using a phone or computer.

“Is it difficult, is it challenging? Absolutely,” Alvarez said. “I was very active on the phone to send texts, to send emails, to do Facebook, social media. I have to have somebody else do it for me now.”

During this pandemic, he shares a message of survival. “In all reality, every day above ground is a good day,” he said.

For others going through a difficult time, he encourages little things during the day to maintain strength. “All of us as humans need fresh air,” Alvarez said. “At least, open the garage door, go outside… get some air.”

Despite health and financial troubles, he’s looking ahead.

“You have to have the attitude that you’re a survivor,” Alvarez said.

Fellow law enforcement have raised money to help with Alvarez's medical expenses. You can donate on this link. The amount seen is the total since the fundraiser began in Fall 2018.