El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy battling cancer with community's support

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - When you work in law enforcement, every day comes with challenges. But for El Paso County Deputy Sgt. Stephanie Criss, she's had more than her fair share.

After losing her brother in blue, Detective Micah Flick, Sgt. Criss found out she was battling stage 4 colon cancer for the second time.

Now she's hoping the community she's helped protect will stand by her side again.

"I have to be thankful for what I have and not what I don't have and not what I might miss. I have to be thankful for every day because that's a gift," Criss said. "I first found out I had cancer in 2015. I went through 6 or 7 months of treatment then and I had shown clear that I was in remission from cancer."

But it was the call on a cold February morning that changed her life forever in so many ways.

"I was involved in the shooting that took Micah Flick's life and when I went for a follow-up appointment in August for cancer follow up, the cancer had returned. They said there is absolutely a possibility that the stress and trauma of that incident furthered the re-occurrence," she said.

Criss was given 3 to 4 months to live, but more than a year later the 20-year veteran still refuses to lose hope.

"There are days when I want to give up and say enough is enough and if this is God's plan. But with all the support I can't help but continue to fight," said Criss.

Shield 616 -- a company that provides bullet-proof armor for officers -- is putting a fundraiser together for the woman that has become family.

"I mean she was with my brother-in-law the day he gave his life, and she survived that and I'll be damned if I'm not going to do my part to help get her through this battle," said Chris Brown of Shield 616.

It's all with one purpose in mind: letting more people get to know Criss.

"She is always the one who is concerned with how their day is going as opposed to worried about what's going on in her own life. She is absolutely selfless," said Janet Huffor with the Sheriff's Office.

It's also an opportunity for Criss to share her story herself.

"Mourning the loss of a friend, a co-worker, and a teammate -- that would've been plenty for that year. Then to be handed this, I just continue to think, 'What am I supposed to learn from all that has happened?'" she wondered.

A benefit car show will take place at Ceramic Pro Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. T-shirts will also be for purchase, and all benefits will go directly to Criss.

For more information visit the events Facebook page here. To learn more on Shield 616 or donate, please visit their website here.

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