When I retired in 2000 as the Superintendent-in-Chief of the Boston Police Department, after 40 years of service, I just wanted to enjoy my family. But John Dow, a retired Captain, cancer survivor and good friend, got me interested in Cops for Kids with Cancer. As police officers, our job was to protect and serve. Now I serve as Chairman of Cops for Kids with Cancer.
This charity began as a golf rivalry between Captain Dow’s Boston Police team and members of Ireland’s Garda Siochana, led by Detective Pat Hanlon. That small group determined that the event should raise funds to be donated to a local hospital, specifically to help children with cancer. Here we are, over a decade later, carrying on their wonderful mission.
We’ve grown a bit, with a 20-plus person Board of Directors, active and retired police officers and friends of law enforcement. All are volunteers, receiving no salaries. We all work very hard to plan events and keep our overhead to a minimum. The funds we raise go to people directly involved in the care of children with cancer, with each family typically receiving $5,000. There are many organizations raising money for important research, but our goal is to help the children and their caregivers through this most difficult crisis.
For several years, we only made donations to the children’s oncology units at Mass. General Hospital and the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. The donation was specifically earmarked for items or activities that would make an extended hospital stay a little less daunting. Although we still continue those donations, in 2008 the Board of Directors established a process to get sorely needed funds to individual families caught in the web of pediatric cancer. In addition to the crushing emotional toll taken, there is a financial domino effect in having a child diagnosed with cancer. Most often, one parent must leave a job. Some treatments are not fully covered by insurance. It’s expensive to come to the city every day to be with your child – gas costs, parking fees and meals can sometimes add as much as $100 a week to a budget already cut in half. Families, once solvent, now find themselves on the financial brink.
WE CAN ALL HELP. Our donations have, for example, saved a family from eviction, helped pay down overwhelming bills and paid to repair the only vehicle used to travel back and forth to the hospital. The situations are heartbreaking and all too real. In the last 4 years, including the hospital donations, we have given to over 280 families in need, totaling more than$1,400,000.00 in and around New England. That’s a lot of fundraising for a small charity, and the more the word gets out, the more requests we get. We are always grateful for your support, either by donation or by participating in a fundraising event. Please support Cops for Kids with Cancer so we never have to deny a struggling family a helping hand.
Robert P. Faherty
Superintendent-in-Chief, BPD (Retired)