Cops for Kids with Cancer in the South Coast today

By George Austin, South Coast Today

SOMERSET — The donation that was given to Somerset resident Anna Costa by the Cops for Kids with Cancer organization on Monday at the Somerset Police Station is going to make it easier for the mother of three children to pay some of her bills and to provide a happy holiday season for her family.

“I’m going to catch up on rent, Christmas,” Ms. Costa said. “I think it’s great. It’s going to help me.”

Robert Faherty, the chairman of the board for Cops for Kids with Cancer, came to the police station on Monday afternoon and presented a check for $5,000 to Ms. Costa in the office of Somerset Police Chief Joseph Ferreira who had contacted the organization about assisting Ms. Costa.

“I’ve always had a heart for kids with cancer and people who have been affected by cancer,” said Chief Ferreira who has participated in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk for at least the last five years. “People are hurting. When you’re in a position to help them out, it’s a great thing to do.”

Ms. Costa’s son, Ryan Valley, had Hodgkin’s Disease before passing away on Sept. 19 at the age of 12 years old. He was a student at the Chace Street School where a walkathon fundraiser was held for him last year. Chief Ferreira had put in an application to Cops for Kids with Cancer before Ryan passed away and the board had not decided on whether to give money to Ms. Costa before Sept. 19. Chief Ferreira said he knew the family still needed the money, so sent a note to the board about the situation. The presentation that was made on Monday was only the second time that the organization had made a donation to a family after the child had passed away.

Ms. Costa has three other children who are ages 14, 13 and 10. Ms. Costa, a certified nurse’s assistant at the Somerset Ridge Center, has not worked since August because she was taking care of Ryan while he was being treated for Hodgkin’s Disease.

Cops for Kids with Cancer has given money to more than 50 families since 2008. In order for someone to get assistance from the organization for a family that has a child with cancer, the board of directors of Cops for Kids with Cancer or a police officer has to be contacted.

“That way, we know it’s legitimate, and we also check with the hospitals, too,” Mr. Faherty said.

Chief Ferreira said if anyone knows of a family caring for a child with cancer who has a financial need, to contact him about getting assistance from Cops for Kids with Cancer and can also get more information on the web site www.copsforkidswithcancer.org.

The organization holds fundraisers, such as golf tournaments, road races and motorcycle runs, so that it can provide money to families who have children with cancer.

“One of the most fascinating things about this organization is nobody gets 10 cents for administrative fees or anything of the sort,” Chief Ferreira said. “One hundred percent of the money goes to families of children with cancer.”

Chief Ferreira found out about Cops for Kids with Cancer at a meeting of the Southeastern Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association and also attended a fundraiser of the organization in Boston. After reading about Ryan’s case in a story about a fundraiser being held for him at the Progressive Club in The Spectator, he contacted the organizer of that fundraiser and asked how he could contact Ms. Costa. He met her and provided her with the paperwork to apply for funding to Cops for Kids with Cancer.

Mr. Faherty, a retired superintendent in chief of the Boston Police Department, and his wife, Natalie Faherty, had two children who died, one in an accident and one from a heart condition.

“So, we know what it’s like,” Mr. Faherty said. “We know what the people who go through this stuff, go through.”

Mr. Faherty said the costs associated with caring for a child who has cancer can cause people to be homeless. He said his organization has helped homeless families who had children with cancer. Mr. Faherty said one woman in Roxbury was running out of money and was about to go homeless, received assistance from the organization so that would not happen to her. Cops for Kids with Cancer helped another family who needed money to pay for the funeral of their child. When a child has cancer, he said most of the income from the family can go to expenses related to the medical treatment. He said in today’s economy, most families have two parents who are working, but when a child is diagnosed with cancer, the mother stays home to take care of the child, so one of those incomes is lost.

“Half of them can’t even pay the garage fees at the hospital,” Mr. Faherty said. “If they don’t have a larger family to support them, they’re in real trouble.”