Troopers raise $15K for families of children battling cancer

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SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — Financial strain is one of the many challenges faced by families with children diagnosed with cancer, and Rhode Island State Police on Thursday continued their quest to help local families handle that burden.

This past April, eight state troopers ran the Boston Marathon to raise money for Cops for Kids with Cancer. The nonprofit’s mission is simple: “We don’t build buildings. We don’t find a cure. We actually try to go directly right to the source and help the families,” Cops for Kids with Cancer chairman William Coulter explained.

In a special ceremony at state police headquarters, the troopers presented $5,000 checks to families from Johnston, Pawtucket and West Kingston.

“We’re eternally grateful to these policemen,” Hannah Chamberlain said. “They’re really heroes.”

Chamberlain’s 8-month-old son Sean was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

“We’re hoping next month he’ll be getting a bone marrow transplant,” she added. “That should save his life.”

Family members smiled through tears as they accepted the much-needed support. Police hope the funds will offset some of the expenses incurred while caring for a child battling cancer.

“It’s not a good experience,” Gelmy Custodia said Thursday. “Not everybody would like to be in our feet but we’re strong, we’re strong here for my sister.”

Custodia’s 11-year-old sister Yesla is currently battling a brain tumor while 7-year-old Ella Watters was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma.

“She did 14 rounds of chemo and 28 rounds of radiation in Boston,” Tracy Watters said. “She’s had a long haul, but she’s still smiling!”

Since 2012, Rhode Island State Police have raised more than $65,000 for Cops for Kids with Cancer.

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