Arkansas sheriff diagnosed with cancer four months into first term


IZARD COUNTY, Ark. — Step into Earnie Blackley’s office, and some things just might surprise you — like two mounted deer heads, staring down visitors from the back wall.

The current Izard county sheriff goes hunting or fishing whenever he can.

“I live in the neck of the woods where I can just walk out my door and start hunting,” Blackley says.

“If I had to pick fishing or hunting, I’d pick fishing probably.”

But, these days, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis has pressed pause on those hobbies.

“This cancer worked me over pretty heavy,” Blackley says.

Blackley was sworn in January 1.

He gathered with other new sheriffs at the state capitol.

His cancer diagnosis came in May.

Despite the grim news, since then the grandfather of seven bounces back and forth from hospital rooms to his desk.

“I’ve got an obligation, and I’m going to keep it up,” Blackley says.

Word of his illness spread to the county, which held a benefit in his honor this summer.

“I’m overwhelmed by support that I’ve got,” Blackley says.

Facing the battle of his life, emotions run high.

But, Blackley says he wins whichever way this goes.

“I’m happy,” Blackley says.

And those emotions you see, just might surprise you.

You don’t have to cry because you’re sad.”

Blackley has undergone four chemo treatments with two more scheduled. One of them is set for this coming Wednesday.

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