BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – A restaurant in Blue Springs is holding a fundraiser for a former police officer battling cancer.
The last year and a half have been difficult for Bill and his wife, Tara Ely.
“I can’t do things I used to do,” Bill said.
In April 2019, Bill was involved in a crash while on duty as a Blue Springs police officer. He suffered a concussion and tears in his shoulder. The 48-year-old went back to work, performing light duty, but eventually had to medically retire.
“It was tough,” said Bill, getting emotional. “It was lifechanging.”
Bill began experiencing severe headaches following the concussion. In July 2020, the headaches got so bad Tara took her husband to the hospital. Tests revealed the father of two had stage four brain cancer.
“Glioblastoma takes over your brain,” said Tara. “It’s a horrible cancer.”
Bill lost movement on his left side following a biopsy and is in a wheelchair. He’s currently undergoing chemo treatments and physical therapy.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” said Mindy McLaughlin, who worked with Bill on the police force.
McLaughlin wanted help her friend and former coworker, so she reached out to the owners of Chick-fil-a, located at 951 NE Coronado Dr. in Blue Springs. They decided to hold a fundraiser called “Brownies for Bill.”
For every brownie sold during the month of October, the restaurant will donate a portion of sales to Bill and his family.
“We’re just really honored and blessed to have a small part in helping Bill and his family,” said Laura Milam, the catering and marking director at the restaurant.
“It’s amazing,” said Tara, a special education teacher. “There are so many hidden costs in what we’re going through, and he can’t work now so it’s just my income. So, for somebody to not even know us and say, ‘Sure we’ll sell these brownies and give you some money,’ it’s just huge.”
A show of appreciation to a man who served his community until he was no longer able.
“I just want to thank everybody,” Bill said.
On Wednesday, an MRI showed the tumors in Bill’s brain are shrinking. It’s promising news that gives his family and friends hope he’ll beat cancer.