Retired Boston Police Chief Chief Robert Faherty and volunteers from Cops for Kids with Cancer presented 7 year old Royal and his mother with $5,000 and various gifts. The April 26 gifts mark $5 million in grants made to assist families who have a child diagnosed with cancer.
Cops for Kids with Cancer came to the aid of a seven-year-old Roslindale boy with cancer this spring by presenting the boy’s family with $5,000 and a variety of other gifts.
Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox, retired Chief Robert Faherty, retired Captain Maura Flynn, and officers joined in the event at the District E-5 station(Roslindale/West Roxbury).
“He has a smile that lights up the room, and our officers can’t wait to see him again,” the officers said, while feting him and his family with lunch and a tour of the house.
The organization, which was formed some two decades ago by the late BPD Captain John Dow, has over the years assisted thousands of families as they have steered their way through cancer treatments for their children.
This latest presentation marks an impressive milestone: CFKWC has raised and donated $5 million in grants to families who have a child living with cancer.
Chief Faherty, chairman emeritus, was a longtime friend of Dow’s and has served on the charity’s board since its inception. In a recent interview with the Boston Irish Magazine, he spoke about the charity’s goals.
“Well, it started basically in 2002. and we meet once a month at the Boston Police Patrolman’s Union Hall,” he said. “They give us a space upstairs where we can fit enough people. The board consists of about 26 members, including current and retired police officers and some civilians.
“The mission of the CFKWC basically is to give support to families that have a child with cancer,” Faherty said. “We know what the families have to go through; often, it’s just a mother. It’s amazing how many men bail out on their families when something like this happens. It’s terrible.
“We have a process that we go through. We ask people if you know a child with cancer, and they’re having a hard time, let us know and we’ll send you the forms. They’re very simple and someone at the hospital can help make it out, and they get it back to us.
“We give them a $5,000 donation, no strings attached. They can do whatever they want with it, you know, it’s their money.
“And a lot of people that have a child with cancer are really hurting because, like I say, a lot of times a lot of fathers aren’t involved in it. Just the mother and she’s trying to keep her family at home safe. You know, these kids, when you see them and make the donation, they break your heart. But you can’t keep that all inside you.”
In addition to financial support, the program has sponsored special outings for the children, and many time brought them aboard the Boston Police boat on Boston Harbor. “The only problem was with Covid, you couldn’t do it,” Faherty says. “And we were just getting through Covid and that police boat sank. So, the Boston Police Department’s going to have to buy another one. When they get a new police boat, we’ll go back doing that.
“The families really enjoyed that, going out on the ocean on a nice day, and taking the kids all around the harbor and the different islands. And we finished up at the Constitution, where the cannon would boom out. The kids used to love that. We scared them a little bit; we had to tell them they’re going to shoot the cannon off.
“We give the hospitals money too, to take the kids out when there’s like a circus in town, with the ones that are healthy enough to do that, you know, or take them to a movie or take them to see the Ice Capades, things like that.”
How many families would he say have been helped over these years? “Oh my God, thousands,” Faherty said.
“John Dow himself was a cancer survivor, right? Well, it killed him in the end. In his younger days when he was a police officer, he got throat cancer. And he survived that. That’s why he always talked with a hoarse.
“As a grown man going through it, he knew it was a terrible time. He couldn’t imagine what it did to children going through cancer because he went through it as a grown man. He knew the pain and suffering that goes along with it. He couldn’t fathom what the poor children were going through.”
To make donations or seek CFKWC assistance, visit copsforkidswithcancer.org