St. Cloud police rallies community to support sergeant with cancer
By Tiffanie Reynolds
St. Cloud Police Department once again begins the fight for one of their own struggling through cancer.
On Dec. 1, the St. Cloud Police Department will hold three separate fundraisers to support Sgt. Denise Roberts as she goes through treatment for stage 2 breast cancer. The first is the Pink Sunday Family 5K walk/Run starting at 8 a.m. on the St. Cloud Lakefront Park, followed by a poker tournament for anyone 21 and older at Sidelines on 13th Street at noon. Registration for the 5K is $25 per person at pinksunday.eventbrite.com and, for the poker tournament, $50 for poker tickets. Both events are placing these funds in a general account for officers in need through the St. Cloud Citizens Foundation.
Roberts, who was diagnosed with cancer on Sept. 26, can use these funds to help pay for medical expenses as she goes through the treatments she needs. After she was diagnosed, Roberts went through a lumpectomy and a lymph node dissection to take out the cancer, but she has just started on years of treatments to prevent cancer from coming back, including chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and between 5 to 10 years of hormone therapy.
“It’s just a bump in the road. I plan on working through this the best that I can. I just try to stay focused and positive, and me being at work keeps me that way,” Roberts said.
News of Roberts’ breast cancer was a big shock to the police department, which recently lost Capt. Boyd Graham to liver cancer. Roberts made her illness and what she is going through to treat it public during St. Cloud’s Pink Heals event on Oct. 4. Since then, the police department has been organizing these fundraisers to help offset the medical bills Roberts and her family will have to pay.
Along with the 5K walk/run and the poker tournament, the police department is holding two more fundraisers that will go to Roberts directly. The St. Cloud Police Department is selling “Swat Life” T-shirts supporting breast cancer, with sizes ranging from small to 3XL for $20 each. They also are selling tickets for $10 each for a gun raffle, with the winner also announced Dec. 1.
“A lot of people that go through that type of treatment get very sick and can’t go to work, but your bills don’t stop. So, this is just to help her out, and her family while she’s going through the treatments. Just trying to assist them financially at this point in time, because she did have a lot of time (off from work) saved. This was a major surprise, and it wasn’t a good surprise,” Community Outreach Officer Diara Wesler said.
While Roberts continues to work during her treatments, she also plans to become more involved with cancer awareness events to help give back the support that the St. Cloud Police Department and community have shown to her. She already is working on projects and events that help raise funds for cancer research and the patients that are dealing with the disease.