CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — Officer Mark Wilkes, a 23-year veteran of the Chicopee Police Department continues to receive an outpouring of support following his near-death experience this past winter.

At a fundraising event held in his honor on Sunday, Wilkes himself shared what the support has meant during his recovery process.

A full field and over 145 golfers teeing off to Officer Mark Wilkes’ miraculous survival story.

“There is love out there, and there is such a thing as a thin blue line,” says Wilkes.

On March 12th, 2023 Officer Wilkes’ life forever changed. He suffered a massive heart attack after playing in a ‘Battle of the Badges’ hockey game. Since then, his road to recovery has been anything but easy, yet it continues to serve as an inspiration to so many.

“It’s the whole community coming together,” expressed.

Bill Stetson, Owner of the Rumbleseat Bar & Grille in Chicopee, organized the golf tournament in Wilkes’ honor with all proceeds going entirely to his family, “I think all of us understand the challenges with insurance, and medical costs, and travel, and I don’t think it could come at a better time for him and his family.”

Following Wilkes initial heart attack, he also suffered another heart attack, a stroke, kidney failure, and septic shock. He’s made progress, but it’s a long road ahead. One that’s filled with therapist home visits and seemingly endless doctor appointments.

Through it all, Wilkes says he’s grateful to have the backing of the Blue, and some support from up above, “I haven’t given up since day one, you know, there’s a greater power out there. Just keep fighting. The stuff I’ve been through was hell. And I’m here now to show that I can, you can make it. If I can make it, anyone else out there in the world can make it.”

Local News

Kaelee Collins is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kaelee on X @kaelee_collins and view her bio to see more of her work.