The Sterling Heights Police Department recently organized a hockey fundraiser to benefit Sterling Heights police Officer Colton Conley, left, who was diagnosed in November with cancer. Also pictured is his wife, Amber, and their daughter, Meredith.

The Sterling Heights Police Department recently organized a hockey fundraiser to benefit Sterling Heights police Officer Colton Conley, left, who was diagnosed in November with cancer. Also pictured is his wife, Amber, and their daughter, Meredith.

Photo provided by GoFundMe

Police, community unite to help officer fighting cancer

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 25, 2023


STERLING HEIGHTS — The Sterling Heights Police Department and its hockey team have a common goal in sticking up for a department officer who is battling cancer.

Late last year, Sterling Heights police Officer Colton Conley was diagnosed at age 28 with an aggressive form of testicular cancer that spread to other parts of his body.

In an email, Conley said the experience of medically figuring out what was wrong was a “long road” that started last June. He discovered a mass, which led to a doctor’s appointment, an ultrasound and a urologist appointment.

After more medical procedures, tests and visits, he learned Nov. 15 that he had an aggressive, stage 3 “embryonal carcinoma non-seminoma testicular cancer.” He also said he learned that the cancer spread to his abdominal lymph nodes and spots in his lungs.

“The news did not come easy,” Conley said. “As (an) overall healthy 28-year-old, new father, the diagnosis was a shock to us all.”

In order to get better, Conley has been undergoing treatment, which he said includes chemotherapy drugs, antiemetics, steroids and anti-inflammatories.

He said that he was finishing his third 21-day cycle of treatment, and afterward, he plans to get a CT scan to see if the cancer is gone or if he needs more treatment.

Conley explained the effect that battling cancer has had on his personal life. He and his wife, Amber, recently became parents to their daughter, Meredith, in August.

“Trying to juggle the aggressive chemotherapy schedule, my newborn daughter, family life, my wife working full-time as well as being my primary care giver has been a lot on myself and my entire family,” he said.

“Each week, my wife constructs a schedule and coordinates with family/friends on whom is able to babysit our daughter, Meredith, while I am at my various chemotherapy treatments/doctor’s appointments. Through this extremely difficult time in my life, my wife has been my rock.”

Conley said he tries to find the positive to everything in life and added that he is lucky to be able to spend more time with his daughter right now.

“I have always prioritized my health. I will continue to do so and promote this to my daughter throughout her life,” he added.

Conley has a GoFundMe online fundraising campaign that will blunt the burden of his medical treatment costs, as well as his inability to work while undergoing chemo. At press time, the GoFundMe campaign had raised $13,630, of a $20,000 stated goal.

And in order to further financially support Conley with his treatment during this time, the Sterling Heights and Clinton Township police departments planned to compete in a charity Battle of the Badges hockey match Jan. 22 at Big Boy Arena in Fraser. The event details said that “in this family - no one fights alone.”

“We have no doubts he will conquer this hurdle,” the flyer said about Conley.

Sterling Heights Sgt. Aaron Susalla said in an email that the Police Department has been “extremely organized and creative” in trying to help Conley, and it is teaming up with the community to help him fight cancer.

“The camaraderie has been overwhelming, and every person within our department has banded together in support of Colton and his family,” Susalla said.

Susalla said the Police Department hockey team reached out to the Clinton Township Police Department’s hockey team with the fundraiser idea. Susalla also credited the Sterling Heights department’s community services bureau for helping organize the event’s details to make sure it’s as successful as possible.

“This fundraiser would not have been possible without all the help of the departments, businesses and community members involved,” he said.

Conley said he has been a police officer for over five years, most of that time working for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. He said he started working for Sterling Heights in early 2022 and was still on a one-year probation period when he got his diagnosis.

Conley said he never asked the Sterling Heights Police Department to help him, and added that he was worried about informing his job about needing to take time off while being a “rookie” on the force.  But he said the department has acted like a second family and has been “nothing short of amazing” during this time.

“I have been on short-term disability since early November and have been only collecting a fraction of my pay, and this will continue as I continue to undergo treatment and work towards recovery,” he said.

“(The Police Department’s) goal was to help us financially so that medical bills and lost wages did not have to be an additional stressor for my family and I. Again, the generosity, and support is unreal.”

To see or donate to Officer Colton Conley’s GoFundMe campaign, visit Learn more about the Sterling Heights Police Department by calling (586) 446-2800.