Strafford County sheriff’s deputy faces cancer diagnosis

He turned around and went to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where he received a CT scan and devastating news – he had brain damage. Landry, 54, was sent to Portsmouth Regional Hospital for further testing. An MRI confirmed three lesions, two of which affect his motor skills and coordination and the other impacts his vision. After several tests, she was told that the lesions were cancerous.

“When they told me about the cancer, I wasn’t shaken by it,” Landry said. “My faith is all I can count on. In that moment, I felt at peace despite the diagnosis and what the future holds for me. Having been a chaplain and pastor, I’ve had many candid conversations about life and death, about chronic illness and cancer, so I’m no stranger to it.”

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Landry was the lead pastor of the Wakefield Church of the Nazarene for a decade and an ordained minister in Londonderry and Wakefield for 13 years.

After seeing a specialist, he will get a biopsy of an eye infection to see if it can be treated separately. Doctors are still deciding on his treatment plan, but Landry said he was not a good candidate for surgery due to multiple tumors in different parts of his brain. He will likely need direct radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Landry’s babysitting role for his wife a major concern

Landry had started seeing a doctor in the months before this scare, complaining of difficulties with his clouded vision. The ophthalmologist was concerned it was cancer, but due to insurance issues he said he was unable to have the MRI which would have detected the lesions earlier.

At the time, Landry only worked part-time. He currently has Cobra insurance that he pays for himself, but he says the coverage leaves a lot of expenses out of his pocket. It takes 90 days of full-time work for his insurance through his county sheriff’s office to begin, and he’s not there yet. Sheriff Mark Brave said it was a policy he was considering trying to change.

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Landry is the primary caretaker for his wife, Charlotte. He said he was worried about being able to look after her as he undergoes treatment in the future. She is handicapped by chronic diabetes and congestive heart failure. She has both legs amputated and is legally blind, dependent on her husband for most of her care. Landry said it would be a difficult process, but he has received widespread support from local police and religious communities.

“The fact that people have gone out of their way to not only provide us with emotional support, but also financial support, has made a huge difference,” Landry said. “It would be hard enough if it was just me dealing with the cancer, but being his primary carer, it adds another dynamic and adds more challenges.”

Landry said he hopes his age and good health will help his chances. There has been an outpouring of support since his diagnosis was shared in the community. He said every prayer, well-wish, card, kind word or offer of help was taken to heart.

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“I’m a solid man of faith, always have been,” Landry said. “Faith got me through the tough times. I’ve always found my faith to be the thing I really needed to hold steady in times of trial. I am optimistic that everything will be fine. I have my faith, I have my health, and I have people to support us through this. I am truly grateful and appreciate those who have offered to help us.

Colleagues from the sheriff’s department are also stepping in to help

Landry began working as a part-time Strafford County Sheriff’s Deputy in 2020, and transitioned to a full-time position in July. Prior to working for Strafford County as a hauler, he worked for the Wakefield Police Department in several roles, most recently as a School Resource Officer. Landry is also an Army Reserve veteran.

Brave said it will be a long battle for Landry, but he and the department team are behind him 100%.

“He comes every day with a smile on his face and says hello to everyone. He’s a really good man and that’s the example we try to set here as a team,” Brave said. “The environment in which I tried to grow up here is that of family. When something happens to a member of our family, we support them.

Brave said within 48 hours of announcing Landry’s diagnosis, employees of the sheriff’s office donated 280 hours of paid time off to Landry.

“Everyone did what they could to make sure he kept getting a check,” Brave said. “It is difficult to have to take care of yourself when you are the main caregiver of your family. It was truly humbling for me to see everyone stepping up to help. Our job is to do the right thing, and we’ve seen it firsthand with ours.

How to help Landry

A GoFundMe was created for Landry, which as of Thursday had raised more than $7,000. He said that in the last week alone he had racked up thousands of dollars in medical debt. This setback did not prevent his determination to tackle cancer head-on. Although he doesn’t know what the next steps are in his cancer journey, he clings to his faith and those he loves dearly.

“The support I’ve felt from the policing community, both Strafford County and the Wakefield Police Department, is nothing short of overwhelming,” Landry said. “They have done so much for me. I’m usually a helper, so sometimes it’s hard to accept help. But through it all, I realized that it’s okay to need help, and it’s okay to let people help you when you need it.