OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – A devastating diagnosis for a Oakland County sheriff’s deputy who has been a pillar of strength for so many -- especially one little boy known as Stephen Strong.
For several years Local 4 has followed the story of Stephen Hohauser as he’s battled a cancer called neuroblastoma. By his side, every step of the way was deputy Bob Loken, a master trainer for the Oakland County Sheriff’s K-9 unit.
“Pancreatic cancer does not run in my family. Really, cancer doesn’t run in my family. So it is something I never thought I would hear those words from my doctor in my life,” Loken said.
Loken knows what a formidable foe cancer can be. For the past four years, he’s been a source of emotional support for Stephen and his family after discovering that Stephen loves police K-9s.
In 2019, Stephen attended a training conference. Talking about Stephen’s battle brought Loken to tears.
“If we could, we’d take that cancer out of him and put it in us in a heartbeat -- you know,” Loken said last year.
He said those words are still true.
“I said it back then. I mean it to this day. If cancer was to hit my family’s household, I am glad it’s me. And I mean it. I know it’s hard for my wife and family,” Loken said. “If God had to pick somebody to deal with cancer -- I thank him that he picked me.”
His wife, Meagan Loken, said that Bob Loken is the rock of the family. The couple has three children. A 19-year-old, a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old.
After Bob Loken told his family, he knew he needed to tell Stephen and Stephen’s mother.
“It’s never a phone call I wanted to make to my little buddy. It’s just, you know, how I feel about him. And he means the world to me,” Bob Loken said. “That kid is amazing. He’s been a great support for me. Unfortunately, we talk cancer stuff together. It’s just unbelievable. He tells me how to handle chemo and we’re going through some of the same things.”
Bob Loken has been by Stephen’s side during his highs and lows. Now, Stephen is by Bob Loken’s side. Recently, he delivered gifts for Bob Loken’s 50th birthday.
The community he has served is rallying about Bob Loken’s family too. Friends and colleagues have organized Loken Strong, a Facebook page, website and GoFundMe offering ways to support the Loken family financially and emotionally.
The Loken family is grateful. It’s a support that Stephen and his family said means the world.
Bob Loken is undergoing an aggressive treatment plan. He is determined to battle the cancer.