December 28 2018,  Revere

Young leukemia survivor receives check and Christmas gifts from Cops for Kids with Cancer

By Tara Vocino

Cops for Kids with Cancer presented a young girl battling leukemia with a $5,000 check and Christmas gifts at the police station recently.

A.C. Whelan Elementary School first-grader Emilia Alvarez, 6, said it gives her hope knowing that people care her about her. The check will help to pay for Emilia’s medical bills.

“I feel sad,” Emilia said, “sometimes happy. I’m grateful that someone is helping me out.”

Her mother, Claudia Cardona, said Emilia was diagnosed two years ago, and although Massachusetts General Hospital does a great job treating her, it’s difficult to watch the process. “She’s tired all the time and throws up a lot,” the Department of Children and Families daycare provider said.

Claudia Cardona has a son, Lukas, who is in the eighth grade. She has had to cut back her hours due to the intense time requirement during chemotherapy, making finances difficult for the single mother. Lukas Diaz, 13, said treatment is expensive, and it’s tough for his mother to find time or to hire babysitters.

Cops for Kids with Cancer gave Emilia a teddy bear, Jake, that she said is warm and snuggly. They also gave her Christmas gifts, ranging from Barbies and stuffed animals to board games.

Police Chief James Guido said Cops for Kids with Cancer is a wonderful organization that makes a great difference in people’s lives. He thanked everyone for being there.

Before the event, Framingham Police Capt. Mike Drummy explained how Cops for Kids with Cancer was initiated. Boston Police Capt. John Dow was diagnosed with lung cancer and sought to help those in his situation. Since Dow died in 2007, Cops for Kids with Cancer has helped 650 families, according to Drummy. “John saw how devastating it was for him as a grown man to have cancer, and he couldn’t imagine what it was like to be a child with the disease,” Drummy said.

Cops for Kids with Cancer Board of Directors member Ed McNelley said they have donated $3.5 million since 2003.

 

Tara Vocino may be reached at printjournalist1@gmail.com.

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