‘He was an incredible fighter’: JSO asst. chief died advocating for others with ALS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tributes are pouring in for Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Jimmy Judge.

He lost his battle this weekend with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

ALS attacks the nerve cells which control the body’s muscles. There is no cure, and most people die from it within two to five years.

The CEO of the ALS Florida chapter said since Lou Gehrig was diagnosed in the 1930s, the very short life expectancy hasn’t changed much at all. He said that needs to change. He also said not only did Judge fight his battle hard, but he also worked to spread the word about ALS.

Judge is described as a dedicated officer with JSO, a loving husband and a devoted father. This is how Jimmy Judge is remembered.

“He was an incredible fighter. And, you know, despite all the challenges that ALS presents to not only folks like Jimmy, but their families, the Judge family did so much to raise awareness about ALS within the Jacksonville community,” said Ray Carson CEO, of ALS Association Florida Chapter.

Carson said there are roughly 1,400 families like the Judges in Florida.

While there is no known cure for ALS, this past September, the FDA approved a drug called Relyvrio to slow down its progression.

Carson said clinical trials show it could increase the life of a person with ALS by up to six months.

“When you have a disease with a life expectancy of two to five years, a drug like this means the difference between being able to see your child graduate from school. Or being there for the birth of a child, or, you know, being at a wedding,” Carson said.

Carson went on to say in order to save more lives, the federal government needs to be on board to increase funding for research.

“It was in the early 70s when President Nixon declared war on cancer. And look at the advances that have happened in cancer since then. Billions of dollars have been invested. That’s the kind of commitment we need. We need to declare war on ALS and put the best minds to work in trying to find treatments and a cure,” Carson said.

Spreading the word about a devastating disease in honor of a man who fought so hard to live.

Carson said both Mayo Clinic and UF Health Jacksonville have done amazing work with ALS clinics and making patients’ lives better. He said those who need assistance can reach out directly through ALS.org. He said events are on the calendar this year. Including a walk here in Jacksonville.

As of now, funeral arrangements for Judge have not been announced.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.