CHICAGO (CBS) — It isn’t just co-workers supporting a police officer battling cancer, but also Village Hall and Public Works employees in West suburban Riverside.
As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, Chris Kudla, a father of two and Riverside Police Officer, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer late last year.
“What do I gotta do to get through this?” he stated.
Doctors say to get through it, he will require countless doctors’ visits and grueling chemotherapy treatments.
The 17-year veteran had been with the Riverside Police Department for less than two years, meaning he had next to no sick time.
“There’s been days that I got chemo and went to work in the afternoon, after getting chemo in the morning,” Kudla said.
Fellow officers quickly stepped in to help their brother in blue by donating their sick time.
Sargent Frank Pontrelli of the Riverside Police Department is just one of those officers.
“We all stick together and we try to help each other out,” Sgt. Pontrelli said.
“Anything that I could do to help him and his family, I want to help him out as much as I can,” agreed Officer Joe Mahanna.
The Riverside Police Chief says he’s extremely proud that nearly every single officer has given their maximum sick days.
“I thought it was astounding,” said Police Chief Tom Weitzel.
“When someone gets in trouble, the way they step up and help each other out – it’s like nothing else,” Kudla said, gratefully.
Employees at the Riverside Village Hall and Public Works are also donating their time.
“He basically got over six months of time for him to use for his medical treatment,” Chief Weitzel said.
CBS 2 talked to Kudla via FaceTime at the airport, as he headed to his first family vacation in several years.
“I’ll sit on the beach and relax and make some good memories,” said Kudla, grateful that his community has given him the greatest of gifts: time with loved ones.
Kudla is still working and patrolling the streets of Riverside when he is not in treatment. Despite his advanced cancer, doctors say he has a fighting chance of beating it.