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Huntley police band together to support colleague

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 5:19 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, May 22, 2014 12:03 a.m. CDT

HUNTLEY – Banding together, Huntley police have been busy collecting donations for a colleague stricken who is with a rare form of cancer that has already forced him to miss work and spend time away from his family.

The department's donation efforts will culminate Saturday with a benefit in Woodstock for Sgt. L.J. Marak, a 13-year veteran of the Huntley Police Department who was diagnosed earlier this year with a soft-tissue cancer called Synovial Sarcoma.

The treatment that followed the cancer diagnosis has caused Marak's medical bills to rise and his time with his three children and wife to shrink, according to a fundraising website created for Marak. The department's decision to help their coworker was simple, said Deputy Chief Michael Klunk.

"Law enforcement is like one large family," he said. "When these things happen, we act like a brotherhood and we try to help each other out as much as we can."

Sgt. Kevin Hillner and officer Theo Kallantzes both organized the benefit for Marak to be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, at Niko's Red Mill Tavern, 1040 Lake Ave., Woodstock. The all-day event features live country music, a bags tournament and silent auction.

Proceeds from the event goes toward Marak's medical expenses and also will help cover the costs of his children's extracurricular activities. Huntley police and friends already have raised $11,500 since launching a campaign online earlier this year.

Marak recently has returned to work and faces a good prognosis despite more treatment scheduled, Klunk said.

"Cancer is a significant thing. It's not like a minor cold," he said. "The benefit shows compassion for one of our employees and provides him extra assistance."

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