Saugus police escort to 2-year-old with rare cancer as family receives $5,000 from Cops for Kids with Cancer
Seven cruisers provided 2-year-old Ketlyn Souza a police escort to the Public Safety Building so her family could receive a $5,000 check from Cops for Kids with Cancer.
A caravan of police cruisers flanked Ketlyn and her mom, Raquel Gomes, as they rode in a white pickup truck from their Saugus home heading down Main Street to the Saugus Center rotary Friday morning.
Blue lights flashed and sirens sounded as the convoy turned from Hamilton Street into the Public Safety Building parking lot.
Once Ketlyn was unbuckled from her car seat, Saugus Police Chief Domenic DiMella and Assistant Chief Ronald Giorgetti escorted mother and daughter inside the Public Safety Building for a check presentation ceremony.
Last August Ketlyn was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosar cancer, a rare cancer that forms in soft tissues.
The cancer was located in Ketlyn’s right thigh and she underwent a surgical procedure called rotationplasty, which involves the removal of a portion of a limb while the remaining limb below is rotated and reattached.
Ketlyn started chemotherapy in November and still faces about 20 more chemotherapy cycles.
Ed McNelley, a member of the Cops for Kids with Cancer Board of Directors, told the Advertiser that the $5,000 check is meant to provide some financial assistance to families that have a child suffering from cancer.
Recipients get the money and there are no questions asked, McNelley said.
“The money is meant to help ease some of the financial burden on parents so they can focus on the most important thing — which is helping their children get better as soon as possible,” McNelley said.
In Ketlyn’s case, one of her parents had to stop working to shuttle her back and forth from appointments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital.
Cops for Kids with Cancer is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that was established in 2004 by John Dow, a Boston Police captain who wanted to do something to help families with children with cancer.
Dow was motivated to act by all of the children he saw coming in for cancer treatment while he battled his own cancer diagnosis.
Every month Cops for Kids with Cancer gives $5,000 each to eight different families that have children stricken with cancer.
Cops for Kids with Cancer also partners with local police departments to arrange for the police escorts to pick up the affected children.
Simple acts like pushing a button to activate the flashing lights on a cruiser can bring a smile to the face of a child, McNelley said. Riding in a police car is another thrill for many.
All of the kids get a teddy bear and a shirt from Cops for Kids with Cancer.
“They are used to being poked and prodded at medical treatments so we try to make this a good day for them,” McNelley said.
Numerous police officers attended the Cops for Kids with Cancer ceremony at the Public Safety Building. DiMella said he was happy to have the Saugus Police Department collaborate with Cops for Kids with Cancer to do something nice for Ketlyn and her family.
“This little girl has been through so much in a short two years,” DiMella said. “More than any person should have to go through.”
DiMella credited Cops for Kids with Cancer for all of the work the nonprofit does to provide financial resources to families in need.
Speaking through a translator (Saugus police officer Daniela Salinas), Gomes shared that Ketlyn’s favorite meal is rice and beans.
For fun, Ketlyn loves to dance and play and jump around, Gomes said.
Gomes expressed appreciation for the generosity shown to her family.
“I would like to thank everyone for their kindness,” Gomes said.
Story by Wicked Local Saugus