WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local police officer has been putting up a tough fight battling a chronic illness, but he’s now on the road to recovery. On Thursday, members of his department and people in surrounding communities showed support for their fellow officer and friend.
The Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department, Hazleton Police Department, and Trans-med Ambulance, along with dozens of people all had one mission Thursday at Skateaway in Wilkes-Barre Township to help raise money for a Luzerne County police officer as he continues to fight a battle away from the line of duty.
Shirts, stuffed animals, and skating were all part of a fundraiser Thursday night to help support Wilkes-Barre Township Police Officer Chris Mackie.
Mackie, who’s been on the force for more than a decade, is battling an autoimmune disorder.
“To see not only a fellow employee but a friend go through a tough time medically. It’s great to see everybody come out and support Chris and it’s really a credit to the Wyoming Valley,” said Wilkes-Barre Township Chief of Police Will Clark.
Mackie has undergone several surgeries and has had to learn how to walk again because of how severe his illness had become.
After nearly 40 days in the hospital, Mackie is back on his feet and taking life one day at a time. 28/22 News respected Mackie’s wishes to remain off camera.
“To completely reshape your lifestyle that you are used to is a humbling experience. Working as a cop that gives you a rare insight because you deal with so many different people and it gives you the ability to see life from their shoes,” Mackie explained.
One supporter says she never met Officer Mackie but is dealing with a similar chronic illness and wanted to show her support.
“It helped me to at least experience meeting someone else who has the same chronic condition, and I just felt like it was the right thing to do for me. I hope Chris has a strong support system to help him get through it like I was able to at nine,” said Bear Creek resident Danielle Prudente.
Officer Mackie has a long road to recovery and getting back out in the field will take some time, but with a support team like this one, a few baby steps, or a few baby skates, will get him just there.
“The police department and the job will be there waiting for him. The keys to his cruizer will be there waiting for him. So let his recovery go slow and sure and he can go back to doing what he does best which is go out there protect and serve the community,” said Chief Clark.
Organizers say they were hoping to raise $2,000 for Officer Mackie.
Mackie will undergo two more surgeries in the near future.