Cops for Kids with Cancer Helps Maya

By Joseph Fitzgerald, The Pawtucket Times

CUMBERLAND — Representatives of Cops For Kids With Cancer Wednesday presented a $5,000 donation to the parents of Maya Spadano, a 3½-year-old Cumberland girl who has been battling leukemia.

Robert Faherty, chairman of the charity’s Board of Directors, along with Director John McManus, officially presented the check to the Spadano family at the Cumberland police station.

Cops For Kids With Cancer, a small non-profit organization made of law enforcement incur when their children are diagnosed with cancer.

Donations made to the organization are given directly to the families of the cancer patient to help deter day-to-day financial strains and make life easier in a stressful and emotional time.

On Dec. 26, 2010, Bob and Sherri Spadano received devastating news when they were told Maya had leukemia. The diagnosis came after weeks of wondering and worrying why the typically vibrant and energetic two-year-old was unable to bounce back from the fevers and viruses that were wreaking havoc on her system.

a Christmas that saw Maya pale, unable to speak and unable to leave her mother’s arms, the Spadanos took their daughter to Hasbro Children’s Hospital to get some answers.

Hoping that Maya was simply anemic, their worst nightmares were realized when Maya was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, the spongy center of bones where our blood cells are formed.

The disease develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control.

Since that time, Maya has earned many nicknames, including Maya the Brave and Maya the Magnificent. She is currently in remission, but only starting her long journey of treatment.

Maya’s fight against leukemia will continue for two more years. During that time, the family faces frequent clinic visits, possible hospital stays, alarming prescription bills, disrupted schedules, emotional upheaval, and unending concern for the physical and emotional well being of both of their girls.

The costs of fighting this fight have placed a huge financial strain on the family. Maya’s constant care requires at least one parent home at all times, which means that Sherri has had to take a leave of absence and Bob can’t spend as much time building his business as he would like.

A Web site,, has been established to keep her family, friends, and community informed and to learn about ways they can help the family through their financial struggle.

Faherty said the $5,000 for Maya’s family was approved by the board of directors after Maya’s aunt, Jennifer Harris, submitted an application to the organization.

Last year, Cops For Kids With Cancer gave money to 57 families.

“In January of this year we’ve been able to help five families so far in Fall River, Brocton, New Hampshire and today in Cumberland,” said Faherty, a former superintendent-in-chief of the Boston Police Department, who retired in 2000 after 40 years of service. “As long as we have the money this is what we do.”

Faherty was accompanied yesterday by McManus, who retired from the Boston force in 1981 after being shot four times while thwarting a Mattapan holdup.

The organization was founded by the late John Dow, a retired Boston Police captain who lost his own battle with cancer in 2007. Dow teamed up with Irish police detective Pat Hanlon in 2002 and set up the first annual golf fundraising tournament. Since then, tournament sites have alternated between Ireland and Massachusetts.

“We are now trying to help families of children with cancer,” Faherty said. “We know because of economic conditions that both parents have to work. When a child has cancer it is usually the mother who has to stop working to take care of the child. Can you imagine the heartache of a parent whose child has cancer and then on top of it the worry of how to pay their bills? We want to help these families in their time of need.”

Faherty said the organization’s constant struggle is to raise funds. Anyone who would like to donate a tax deductable gift can send a check or money order to: Cops For Kids With Cancer, P.O. Box 850956, Braintree, MA 02185.

Donations can also be made online with a credit card at

Anyone who would like to help the Spadano family directly can send donations to:

The Maya Lucia Spadano Healthcare Trust, P.O. Box 7141, Cumberland, RI 02864.