The words "protect and serve," mean more than just responding in an emergency. As men and women who live by these words, you know it often means going above and beyond the call of your daily duties.
It is that calling that is at the heart of Cops Against Cancer, a faith-based, nonprofit that provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families. Craig Phinney, a retired Ankeny police officer, and his wife, Shirley, created the organization after seeing a need during Craig’s own battle with cancer.
“We’ve learned cancer doesn’t discriminate regardless of how much money you make, your occupation or your age,” said Phinney, Cops Against Cancer executive director. “A patient may feel financially secure and then they hear the words, ‘you have cancer,’ and that diagnosis changes everything.”
August 11th, 12th and 13th, 2017, Cops Against Cancer with the assistance of the Polk County Sherriff’s Explorers and Reserve Deputies manned the “Fill the Bucket” campaign at the Ankeny Walmart Super Center. Sergeant Jeff Rullman, PCSO Community Relations Supervisor reached out to Phinney a few months ago and asked if the two agencies could partner together to make a difference for cancer families. Well an impact they made. During their first partnership, the three-day event raised Cops Against Cancer over $6,600.00.
Sgt Rullman shared, “in the past our Explorers and Reserve Deputies have primarily assisted with raising funds for Iowa Special Olympics.” The Cops Against Cancer organization is equally a great cause that demonstrates the strong partnership of protecting and servicing in a more community minded effort.”
Phinney shared, “we are proud of the fact that for the past three years, 82 cents of every dollar raised goes to client assistance programs.
“We know by the time our clients contact us for assistance, the clients and their families are so far over their heads, they are extremely appreciative of any assistance they might receive,” Phinney said.
Since Cops Against Cancer launched their community out-reach program this year – collaborating with Iowa Law Enforcement agencies, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Des Moines Police Department Union and Burial Association, the Iowa State Police Officers Council, Urbandale Police Department Association have collectively raised more than $19,500. (The largest donors being DMPD – $7,500, PCSO $6,600, ISPOC $5,000.)
Since 2012, Cops Against Cancer has raised over $265,000 and assisted more than 750 cancer families in 78 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Phinney says there is a never-ending need as patients face increasing costs for prescription medications, medical supplies and other living expenses, such as utilities and groceries.
When patients are struggling to meet their basic needs, it detracts from focusing on their health. Every year, our organization strives to raise more to accommodate the increasing needs of our clients. That is where you can help by forming a Cops Against Chapter in your community. With your help, we can expand our mission to raise more money for cancer patients, but to also identify those in your community who could use our help.
Nick Brown, a former police chief and Cops Against Cancer executive committee member, understands the value of having officers involved in their communities. He also knows that officers are aware of needs that others in the community may not see or recognize.
“Officers on the street constantly see people and families in need of help. They often are at a loss as to how to help them,” Brown said. “Cops Against Cancer is one small way they can contribute in a way that is meaningful for all of the community. Cops are often looked upon as only enforcers, but the truth is that they want to help make things better for those who are hurting or in distress.”
Brown’s involvement in the organization is also personal. His wife died of bone cancer last year after a five-year struggle. Brown saw up close and personal the emotional and financial burden cancer places upon a caregiver spouse and the entire family.
“This is a way for me to give back for all the many blessings in my life, and to help ease the pain cancer brought to my family,” Brown said.
To learn more about the organization visit: www.copsagainstcancer.org. To form a chapter or partner on a fundraising project, contact Craig Phinney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (515) 783- 9833
Cops Against Cancer Out-Reach Program:
Cops Against Cancer is working with law enforcement agencies from across the State of Iowa on a two-tier project. The purpose of this collaboration is to build a stronger alliance with the departments and cancer families in their communities. This partnership would create eight “districts” across the state, with a law enforcement representative appointed by the Cops Against Cancer organization in each of the eight districts. The representative is the promoter, organizer, and liaison between the individual agencies in those districts and the Cops Against Cancer organization.
This two-tier project will involve:
• An agency and their community hosting a BBQ fundraiser to showcase not only the organization but also the partnership between the agency and the cancer community within their respected jurisdictions. Proceeds from these events benefit the Cops Against Cancer Client Care programs.
• Departments are receiving training from our organization in promoting our organization in their communities identifying and informing potential clients in their communities.
• Departments are screening potential clients to identify specific needs and forward the information onto our organization for additional review. The departments also play a critical role in personally making the direct donation contact in delivering of our resources and assistance to the client.