News & Press
In Memory of Christopher Charles Duffield
Guest blog from Chris Duffield’s best friend Mark and his support dog Ben:
Christopher, known as Chris, was a friend, son and brother of the best kind. He always had a hand out to support a friend or family member and a kind word to say to all. He lived a positive life and always looked at the “glass half full.”
Chris was compassionate and understanding, but very headstrong in his beliefs. He always battled for others. He was the welcoming smile to new students in school even as early as junior high. He forged friendships that are still in existence today, many years later. He loved his brother and sister with all his heart. When they were all adults he made sure he spent as much time with his nieces and nephews, he was so proud of all of them!
When he was in his late 30s he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly affects the spine, but can also affect other parts of the body like shoulders, hips, knees, neck and pelvis. If left untreated it causes spinal fusion and immobility. Unfortunately, it was not diagnosed early enough to stop the impact before some damage had occurred. His treatment was able to slow down the progression, but the disease did cause him many difficulties and pain. He fought back by trying to be fit and healthy as much as he could and strengthen muscles to help with the affected joints. While doing so, Chris became a full-time fitness coach with Beachbody corporation.
He always had companion dogs or cats and called them his fur babies. In fact, after his diagnosis is when he found Ben (possibly was a godsend knowing how much he’d need Ben). Ben quickly became his support and service dog, helping him with his daily struggles of balance, walking, and companionship in general.
When he was diagnosed with melanoma, it was represented by one small sore resembling an infected ant bite, later finding out it was stage four. He underwent surgery to remove the cancer and lymph nodes to stop the spread. It seemed to be successful at the time. Of course, Ben was at his side the whole way.
Treating melanoma cancer is difficult when one has an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorder treatments must suppress the immune system to stop the progression of it. Cancer treatments must build up the immune system to fight cancer.