JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The highlight of 36-year-old Chad Hallman's day is time with his 5-year-old daughter Caitlyn. He works full time, has been studying at night, and recently graduated with a law enforcement degree.
But Hallmans dream job isn't as close as it seems.
Four months ago, during a daily run, Chad had trouble breathing.
"I thought it was allergies, but I ended up feeling some pain and discomfort."
He put it off because health insurance is too expensive through his employer. Weeks later, he felt an excruciating toothache. He eventually saw a dentist, who recommended an oral surgeon, who found a tumor is taking over his face.
"It's pushing though the left side and toward the right side of my face. There's plenty of nights I can't sleep well at all and am in a lot of pain and discomfort. It's very aggressive. It's very massive and basically pushes everything out of the way."
The discovery forced Hallman to schedule his next-day test with the Florida Highway Patrol for a permanent position.
"I have to put those plans on hold for now."
Although benign, surgery is necessary very soon, but it will come at a price. UF and Shands Jacksonville offered a discount, but more than $4,000 is needed up front.
This week, Hallman logged on to Facebook to give his friends an update, and they responded in a way he never imagined. In only a few hours, the first of many surgeries was paid for.
"It's overwhelming for so many people to find it in their hearts to be so generous to dig in their pockets during the holiday season to help me at a time in need when I certainly couldn't afford it."
More surgeries are need, and the total is estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars. That's why Hallman's online friends continue to give.
"It was just living proof that we're together, I'm not alone."
Hallman was able to schedule his surgery for Dec. 17. He can now be there for his daughter for many years to come, and continue to follow his dreams.
"I've got to be around to be the best example, to be the best daddy that I can be for her. She's the reason I was put on Earth. I was meant to be her daddy, and I'm coming out of this more motivated than ever."
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