HUDSON — A local police officer who spends much of his spare time helping children cope with cancer is now facing his own battle with the disease.
Hudson Police Officer James Stys, the district’s school resource officer, was diagnosed with colon cancer in mid-November.
According to his friend Samantha Bergeron, Stys underwent surgery to remove a portion of his colon shortly after his diagnosis and is now enduring six months of chemotherapy treatments to try to prevent the cancer from returning.
Bergeron, a Hudson mom who works in the school district, recently launched an online fundraiser on the You Caring website to assist Stys and his family with medical expenses.She said Stys “is a very proud and humble man” who doesn’t typically ask others for help.
“All three of my children have had or have Officer Stys as a resource officer, so it hits really close to home,” Bergeron said.
Stys’ cancer treatments are covered by insurance, but some of the treatments are quiet costly and must be paid for up front and reimbursement takes several weeks to process, according to Bergeron.
The Hudson Police Department is also trying to help Stys with a fundraiser planned for Friday, Feb. 21, from 7 to 11 p.m. at White Birch Hall, located at 222 Central St. in Hudson.
Tickets are $25 per person.
The evening will feature a barbecue meal, comedy show and a musical performance by the band Max Voltage, as well as a silent auction.
Proceeds from the benefit will assist Stys with medical expenses as well as with wages lost from the occasional days when he’s unable to make it into work.
Event organizers are seeking donations of items to include in the silent auction. Hudson Police Detective David Cayot said auction offerings so far include autographed Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins memorabilia, a Coach purse and season passes to Merrimack College’s hockey games.
Stys has remained at work throughout most of his illness and has played an active role in the local police department’s community outreach programs over the years.
Those efforts have included substantial fundraising and donations involving the Cops for Kids With Cancer foundation, according to local police officials.
Last winter, Stys was one of several officers to visit with local student McKenzie Lowe while the 12-year-old was being treated for a brain tumor at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Hudson police have raised and donated thousands of dollars to assist the Lowe family over the past year, and Stys helped organize several of the community events held in McKenzie’s honor.
Cayot said Stys has been with the police department for about 18 years and recently began working as the school resource officer for Hudson’s elementary schools.
“He’s just a great guy, one who is always so friendly and has such a wonderful way with the kids,” Cayot said.
For more information or to purchase tickets for the police fundraiser, contact Officer Tom Scotti at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cayot at email@example.com or 886-6011.