Hundreds support Ross Township Police Chief Darryl Haussler as he battles rare disease

Posted at 12:05 AM, Feb 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-12 00:05:06-05

CINCINNATI -- Ross Township Police Chief Darryl Haussler has served many over the years, and now -- in his time of need -- the community gave back.

Haussler has scleroderma, a rare, incurable autoimmune disease. About 300 people gathered at the Delhi Township Senior Citizen’s Center Saturday evening to raise money for Haussler and his family and to celebrate his strength.

Before his three years as police chief in Butler County’s Ross Township, Haussler served on the police forces in Delhi and Colerain townships.

Haussler’s former supervisor, Delhi Township Police Chief Jim Howarth, helped spearhead the fundraiser along with Delhi Skirt Game, a nonprofit dedicated to helping local residents in need.

“Darryl is just a true professional,” Howarth said. “You always knew who you had when you met him."

Latoya Brathwaite, a University of Cincinnati Health Nephrology Fellow who performs Haussler’s dialysis, said scleroderma -- meaning “hard skin” in Greek -- is a rare genetic disorder in which the body essentially attacks itself through a hardening of the skin and connective tissues.

Haussler went through dialysis treatments three times a week for months, but his disease has affected his whole body, his wife Debbie said.

"RIght now it's affected his lungs his heart, his kidneys, his GI tract," she said.

But Haussler said he’s not giving up.

"People praying for me when I didn't feel like it,” Haussler said. “I didn't want to pray ... I think I could literally feel their prayers carry me through the darkest time of this whole illness."

Debbie said the support of the community means the world.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We're going to make sure we give scleroderma a voice,” she said.

Web Editor Austin Fast and Reporter Evan Milward contributed to this report.