NewsLocal News


Merriam officer, now cancer-free, returns to duty

Merriam MPO Phil Lewis
Posted at 9:52 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 23:38:59-04

MERRIAM, Kan. — Master police officer Phil Lewis has met a lot of people in his nearly 20 years of patrolling Merriam. Little did he know those folks would turn out in his moment of need.

"Nothing seemed to go the way it was planned," Lewis said.

In January 2019, doctors diagnosed him with colon cancer.

"My first surgery had some complications," Lewis said. "I ended up in the hospital for a month. I lost everything, had to learn how to walk again."

Then came the chemotherapy treatment. Lewis' wife, Anne, was by his side.

"She did it all," Lewis said. "I don't know where I'd be if she hadn't helped me."

But this week, Lewis put his uniform back on for the first time in 22-months and hit the streets.

"It's the job I really love, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else," he said.

Above all, he is grateful to those who have supported him and his family -- from organizations like Answering the Call and Guns N’ Hoses, to those in law enforcement and complete strangers.

"Sometimes we will say nice things to people and you wonder if they ever really hear it," Lewis said. "And I heard all of it."

And as a cancer survivor returning to duty amid the coronavirus pandemic, his awareness is heightened.

"A lot of people we deal with aren't wearing masks, so I definitely am very cautious and aware of that," he said.