$15K to help families of children wth cancer

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo. Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, center, holds a check for Cops for Kids with Cancer while surrounded by people who helped raise the money during a donation presentation atCity Hall. More than $15,000 was raised for the charity through donations from Mike Nocella, at mayor's right, of Nocella Paving, Warren Waugh, at mayor's left, of Lyon-Waugh Auto Group and from money raised from the annual community Safety Day in Gloucester. 1/23/20

Law enforcement personnel and community members have rallied together to make sure that families can spend quality moments together during trying times.

On Thursday, representatives from the Gloucester Police Department, city government, and the community congregated in the rotunda of City Hall for a presentation of a $15,021.20 check to Edward McNelley of Cops for Kids with Cancer. 

All proceeds will go towards financially assisting families who have children that have been diagnosed with cancer. 

"Being first responders, we're always looking for ways to give back to the community, and cancer is something that it seems we've all been affected by one way or another," Gloucester police Officer Joe Parady said. 

The total amount was raised through the Police Department's second annual Community Safety Day and generous donations from Gloucester residents Warren Waugh of Lyon Waugh Auto Group and Mike Nocella of Nocella Paving. 

"It is so nice to be able to give back to the community and certainly to an organization that our police are so supportive of," Waugh said. 

Cops for Kids with Cancer is a non-profit organization comprised of active and retired police officers and friends of law enforcement that aim to raise money that will provide assistance to families of children diagnosed with cancer with the hopes of improving their quality of life. 

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken reminded those in the room on Thursday that, unlike adults who can drive and take care of themselves, children are dependent upon parents and guardians who have to work to support them.

"It is an emotional wreck because you don't know what to do for your child," said Romeo Theken, explaining the precious time parents give up with their children in order to make ends meet financially.

In recent years, the organization has given $4,100,000 in financial assistance to over 762 families. 

"Remember that you are putting a smile on a parent's face, not because they got the money, but because they get to spend more time with their child," Romeo Theken concluded. 

The donation given by the collective efforts of Gloucester's Police Department and community members will go directly to families to cover costs of treatment or medications not paid for by insurance, travel and parking for hospital stays, eating away from home, babysitters, and possible house alterations. 

"I just like helping out," said Nocella, who has lived in the seaside community for about 15 years. "Whenever they ask for it, I'll help them."

While their gifts will help families who are need, Nocella and Waugh see the real heroes to be the city's police officers and others who continually bring awareness to what is needed to lend a helping hand. 

"I am amazed by how giving the Police Department is. I just joined the bandwagon," Waugh laughed. 

The Police Department's second annual Community Safety Day fundraiser, which helped raise a substantial amount of the donation, took place a the height of the summer's heat at Harbor's Loop. 

Law enforcement present at the fundraiser included representatives from Gloucester Police and Fire, U.S. Coast Guard, Boston MedFlight, State Police and State Police horses, Massachusetts Environment Police, Salem Police Dive Team, Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) Motor Unit, NEMLEC SWAT team, Endicott College Public Safety, American Red Cross, and surrounding town's police departments. 

The event included tours of the U.S. Coast Guard Gloucester base, view U.S. Coast Guard's boats, a landing of Boston MedFlights' helicopter, and a dunk tank where law enforcement personnel were plunged into ice cold water for a cause they believe in. 

"This is a way we can raise money to benefit families going through a difficult time, and for the community and first responders to pull together to help," Parady said. 

The Police Department has already begun brainstorming ideas for the third annual fundraiser for Cops for Kids with Cancer. The event is scheduled to take place at Harbor Loop on Sept. 12. 

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@northofboston.com.

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