By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Recently Douglas Barry and his family visited the Marlborough Police Department to be awarded a $5,000 grant from Cops for Kids with Cancer (CFKWC). A non-profit 501 (3)(c) organization, the charity was established in 2001 to help families who have children fighting cancer to try to improve their quality of life.
There can be few things more devastating and gut-wrenching to a parent than learning that their child has cancer. The emotional toll on the entire family is steep, but there are also the financial woes that often accompany a cancer diagnosis.
“When a child has cancer, one parent often has to give up their job to be able to stay home with the child, or to drive back and forth to Boston for treatments, pay for parking and meals, maybe pay a babysitter for siblings, and even sometimes pay for medications that are not covered by insurance,” explained CFKWC Board member Captain Michael Drummy of the Mass. State Police.
Claudia Neithercut, a Social Worker at UMass Memorial Medical Center, nominated Douglas Barry to be the recipient of a grant.
“The emotional and financial impact are immediate and significant, challenging these families to deal with major trauma while trying to balance the needs of the whole family,” she said. “My experience with CFKWC has been so positive. I can’t say enough about this dedicated group, their compassion, and how much they are really helping to reduce financial stress.”
The charity began with a golf match in 2001 between the Boston Police and Ireland’s Garda Siochana (the Irish national police), organized by Boston Police Captain John Dow and Pat Hanlon of the Garda. As a cancer survivor himself, Dow was determined to find a way to help children fighting cancer. Since then, more events were added, and the focus changed to also giving $5,000 grants to the families of children with cancer.
“As the charity grew and we received support from other police departments, we were able to reach a point of helping eight families per month. We have raised over $3 million and have provided grants to over 700 families across New England,” Drummy said. “We also provide $10,000 each year to the children’s oncology units at Mass. General Hospital and Tufts Floating hospital.”
The Board members are always on the lookout for sponsors and donors for their fundraising events. The Marlborough Police Department has its No Shave November each year to contribute to the charity, and donations are gladly accepted. Anyone wishing to get involved or to make a donation to CFKWC should visit www.copsforkidswithcancer.org.
“We have some openings for associate board members as well,” Drummy said. “The more people we reach, the more our charity can grow and the more we can help young cancer victims and their families. That is our mission. “