WAUCONDA – Chicago Bears defensive tackle Nate Collins will be signing items for fans at an Oct. 12 fundraiser for Wauconda police officer Eric Schultz at Sideouts Bar and Eatery in Island Lake.
T-shirts and sweatshirts with a logo that reads “Fight Like A Hero” will be on sale with proceeds going to Schultz and his wife, Crystal.
“Only Nate Collins has confirmed with us, but maybe two others will come,” event organizer Kim Jacobson said.
The Schultzes have been dealing with Eric’s illness since 2007, when he was diagnosed with bone cancer after an ankle injury.
“I was jumping a fence at work and sprained my ankle. It wouldn’t heal, so I had it checked out and that’s when they found it,” Eric Schultz said. “I never even knew of bone cancer like that.”
On Valentine’s Day 2008, Eric Schultz’s right foot was amputated, and he returned to work with a prosthetic foot.
Police officer Jim McClain, who has worked with Schultz for six years and is helping Jacobson with the fundraiser, said, “Eric is a great officer and a good friend. He’s courageous and he’s a hero because he always comes back to work.”
In 2010, Eric Schultz’s cancer returned in his right hip and spread to his lungs. After having part of his pelvis surgically removed and getting chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he returned to work at full capacity, Crystal Schultz said.
In 2011, doctors found more cancer in his lungs and started him on a treatment that shrank the spots. Again, Eric Schultz went back to work, but in April 2013 the spots were back in his lungs and much bigger than before.
“It’s just kind of been our normal life to go in and find out that the cancer is back,” Crystal Schultz said.
Eric Schultz is now on unpaid medical leave since his benefits have run out. He said he’s hoping to get back to work soon after healing from an August surgery in which part of his thyroid was removed.
Eric and Crystal Schultz said the community’s support has been instrumental in keeping them optimistic.
“I’m very appreciative of all the people. Having such a huge support group makes this easier,” Eric Schultz said.
Although Eric Schultz is frail from the monthly IV therapy, he said he’s looking forward to seeing all his friends and supporters at the event.
“Everyone says they’re there for you when something bad happens, but the police department and the community are really showing us they are,” Crystal Schultz said.
The fundraiser runs from 3 to 6 p.m.
Jacobson is hoping to raise $10,000 and is expecting 300 to 500 attendees.
Visitors are allowed to bring one item for Chicago Bears players to sign at Sideouts Bar and Eatery, 4018 W. Roberts Road in Island Lake.
For information, email Kim Jacobson at firstname.lastname@example.org.