Andrew “AJ” Gazda, who is a Lake in the Hills police officer, was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital after undergoing brain surgery earlier this month. | Provided Photo

The community is raising money to help a Lake in the Hills police officer who underwent brain surgery for a tumor and is now undergoing rehabilitation.

Lake in the Hills Police Department officer Andrew Gazda recently went to the eye doctor for a regular visit, which led to the discovery of a brain tumor.

Gazda started with the Lake in the Hills Police Department 15 years ago. He was first a police explorer before later working as a dispatcher, a community service officer and now a police officer.

His wife, Kara Burroughs, is a police officer in Carpentersville.

The two police departments along with Gazda’s friends and family are working to raise funds to help him during his recovery.

A GoFundMe with over 170 donors has raised nearly $17,000 so far, with a goal of $30,000 to help support the couple while they are off work.

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Gazda’s tumor was mostly removed during surgery on May 5 and he now faces a months-long recovery before he can return to duty.

Burroughs said the day of the surgery had been filled with “smiles, happy tears, sadness, fearful tears and everything mixed in between.”

“The uncertainty is overwhelming for us but this strong support system is pushing us forward while we are at [the] weakest point in our lives together. Words cannot express the gratitude we feel for the shower of support,” Burroughs said.

Burroughs said on Friday that Gazda had been moved to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.

“It’s been a trying time this past week and a half but our Support Squad has made sure we were physically and mentally okay. There have been a few times where we weren’t and they made sure to help us realize we were keeping in trauma instead of releasing it,” she said.

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Gazda is excited to begin rehab so he can get back home to see his dogs, Burroughs said.

“He is excited to take this next step because it is a step closer to getting into his squad again and hitting the streets,” she said.