NORTH FAYETTE, Pa. (KDKA) – A local community is rallying around a police officer battling cancer.
Officer Mike Hayes was just about ready to retire when he was diagnosed with cancer.READ MORE: Teenage Girls Accused Of Setting House Fire In Ferndale That Sent Officer, Firefighter To Hospital
Fearing the treatments would throw a wrench in his retirement plan, his fellow officers decided to do something pretty incredible.
“Come home from work one day and I talk to the doctor, and he’s like, ‘you should really go get a CT scan.’ So we went and had it done and then boom,” said North Fayette Township Police officer Mike Hayes.
A 26-year career was cut short, just before the finish line.
“I didn’t get that last day at work, my last day of putting my uniform on. After all of these days of putting the uniform on, it’s just strange,” he said.
Officer Hayes was diagnosed in October with stage 4 colon cancer that spread to his liver. He was a year and three months away from retirement and earning his pension.
When his fellow officers found out, they stepped up big time, donating their time off to him so he can make it to the retirement he deserves.READ MORE: Cincinnati To Settle Suit In Death Of Student Kyle Plush Who Called 911
“To see what those guys did for me after being with them for so many years, they donated their time — the whole outpouring from the community, just seeing how much they care,” he said.
Officer Hayes was also a resource officer at West Allegheny High School for 5 years. They too are chipping in, selling t-shirts with the officer’s face on them to raise money for his medical expenses.
“I think he’s impacted the community. He’s made a mark not only with the school but with friends and family. They love him,” said art teacher Mike Short.
After years of donating his time, attention and love to the North Fayette community, the community is now supporting him and showing him his hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Thank you to everybody in the community for showing so much support and that you care. It’s meant a lot. It really has,” said Hayes.
Hayes has chemotherapy every 14 days but says he remains in good spirits.MORE NEWS: Penn Hills School District Provides Grief Counseling After Death Of Teacher James Schultz
His wife has also battled leukemia and their son is a type 1 diabetic. But even with their stress and health issues, the Hayes family says they’ll keep pushing through and are glad they can lean on their community.