Officer who helped break Dugard case battling breast cancer

BRENTWOOD, Calif. (KTVU) -- Police officers are known for their desire to help the communities where they work. But sometimes, it turns out, they are the ones who need the community's help. 

One such officer played a major role in the case of Jaycee Dugard, the 11-year-old girl kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe and held captive near Antioch for 18 years.

Now, that officer needs help in her fight against breast cancer.

39-year-old Ally Jacobs loves to garden, using the food she grows to enhance her family's diet. 

"This is flat-leaf kale that we use to make delicious healthy smoothies," Jacobs said as she cut some kale.

She says she's always been the model of good health. And yet, in March, she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. 

"I could feel the lump. And it was large. It was like the size of an olive," she explained.

Jacobs has two sons, 9-year-old Jake and 11-year old Justin. 

"It's been a struggle watching my kids see me tired and in pain and suffering. Seeing it through their eyes," said Jacobs. "And telling them we can't go anywhere this summer. We can't go to the Giants game or the Warriors game because there's too many people or I'm too tired to take you."

Jacobs was a UC Berkeley Police officer who came to prominence after helping to break the Jaycee Dugard case. 

In 2009, Officer Jacobs encountered Dugard's kidnapper -- Phillip Garrido -- and two small girls on the Cal campus. She quickly became suspicious. 

"It seemed to me that he was a homeless meth head and these girls shouldn't be with him. And they were his kids," remembered Jacobs. "But that didn't seem right to me."

Her suspicion led to freeing Dugard and her two children. A year later, Jacobs retired from the police force because of an injury. Then, after spending time as an art teacher, she found the lump. 

"If I didn't do my self exam, I wouldn't have known any better," said Jacob.

While she has a GoFundMe page to help offset her medical costs (in addition to her own informational website), Jacobs is focused on helping others. 

"If I can just save one life because one girl went in prior to her 40th birthday, and found something early and it saved her life, then it made it all worth it to me," said Jacobs.

Jacobs continues chemotherapy on Thursday and has plans for a double mastectomy in the fall.