Ottawa County deputy fights colon cancer, community organizes Tuesday night benefit

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GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. – An Ottawa County sheriff’s deputy and his family are giving thanks for their community: from loved ones to strangers who have come together to help him continue his fight against colon cancer.

Loved ones told FOX 17 News there’s not a negative bone in Deputy Matt Chatfield. Now they are rallying with him to beat the disease.

Between his service on and off the field, you don’t get very far in the Jenison area without families knowing Deputy Chatfield.

“I have a hard time sitting outside the fence; it’s a lot easier inside the fence than outside the fence,” said Chatfield.

Serving the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office the last 15 years, Deputy Chatfield has helped a lot of people. He’s touched just as many lives on the field, coaching little league and football in the Jenison Public Schools’ area.

Now, his community is returning the kindness.

“Matt’s a hard worker, he gives his all to his community, and we want to give that back to him. It’s a community event, we’re here to support him,” said Sgt. Jeff Steigenga, with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

In October Deputy Chatfield was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. He continues to battle it after surgeries and chemotherapy.

“It’s been a battle so far but it’s a battle he’s going to win," said Mike Chatfield, the Deputy's brother.

To help with the cost of traveling to appointments, hundreds of families and businesses have donated more than 100 pizzas and donations, from a Go Pro camera, a week stay in Florida, and even an autographed football:

“A football signed by Bryan Kelly: Bryan Kelly was Matt’s football coach when he played football at Grand Valley,” said Holly Mueller, sister-in-law. “All the donations are awesome, but this one has a special place in our hearts for sure.”

All of the donations were made for a silent auction benefit Tuesday night at Bauerwood Elementary School, where his wife Heather Chatfield teaches. Deputy Chatfield and Heather said they are taken back by this outpouring of kindness.

“It’s just incredible to think that people care about us that much,” said Heather. “It’s just huge. We’ve felt so supported since day one of finding out in October.”

To share their journey in hopes of helping others, they and family friends started a Facebook page, Chatty’s Cheerleaders, but it has wound up helping them.

“I’ll find myself reading a lot of that stuff and it’s just very relaxing and reassuring know it’s not just Heather and I, it’s not just myself going through this, there’s a whole group of people,” said Deputy Chatfield.

The couple said they are ready to take on their challenges and no matter what they said it’s all about your attitude.

“He says I’m ready to take this on for someone whose body might not be able to handle this and do this,” said Heather. “So we’ve just been really blessed by his attitude and everybody’s support.”

“You know that there’s an outlet, you know there’s a way, you’re going to get through it,” said Matt. “Attitude is huge.”

Matt’s benefit is scheduled for Tuesday 6 to 8 p.m. at Bauerwood Elementary School. All of the proceeds will go to his family’s transportation between medical appointments.

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