WICHITA (FoxKansas.com) -- A Wichita police officer who has lost his sight has gained the support of co-workers and family members who are working to rally the community behind the officer.
Officer Shane Little, 33, was a beat officer tackling the daily chores that go along with the job, such as taking down gang members, going after illegal drugs and patrolling streets. But about two months ago, Little came down with an illness that brought on fever and nausea. His wife, Amanda, also a police officer, accompanied Little to the hospital, where he ended up unconscious and in intensive care.
Doctors eventually diagnosed Little, based in the Patrol North division, with bacterial meningitis, a rather rare sickness that has been linked to blindness, hearing loss or even death. When Little woke up, he had lost his vision.
"I kept saying, 'Who turned off all the lights?" Little told The Wichita Eagle about the incident.
Little has been unable to work since the diagnosis. According to reports, he is undergoing additional medical tests in Las Vegas, where he was expected to receive a three-dimensional MRI.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Symptoms of the ailment include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting and confusion. It also afflicts infants and newborns.
Little's illness has spurred those closest to him to action.
His family members have created a Website to accept financial donations. The Fraternal Order of Police in Wichita are holding a raffle in which they are giving away an M1911 pistol that is valued at $1,000. The $10 tickets for the raffle can be purchased at Thunderbird Tactical, located in the 400 block of North Seneca. Officials say the proceeds from the raffle will benefit Little's family.
"It's really about letting them know we support them," police detective John Ryan told the newspaper.
Little has three young toddler-age children. He has been on the police force for 11 years, the most recent stint being with the department's SWAT team.
He does not know if he will be able to work as a police officer again.
"Our faith is what is getting us through this," he told The Eagle.
FoxKansas.com Staff Writer Alfred Charles contributed to this report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.