Police association goes pink for October

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Police association goes pink for OctoberBuilding on a tradition started last year, the Police Employees Association of Ridgecrest will hold a fund-raising campaign in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness — this year benefitting 31-year-old Amanda Diaz.

Last year the Ridgecrest Police Department kicked off its first campaign in honor of 5-year-old Kylea Chance, who was bravely battling leukemia.

“We were just brainstorming ways we could help our community, and someone came up with turning our patch pink to benefit someone,” said RPD Chief Jed McLaughlin.

That’s when they found Kylea’s story on social media. Although her particular battle was not against breast cancer — often associated with pink, particularly at this time of year — “but we knew she was worthy of supporting, and it turns out pink is her favorite color,” said McLaughlin.

So the department sold the special patches for $20 each throughout the month of October, and the proceeds went toward the Chance family’s expenses.

Last year, Toyota of Ridgecrest and Mayor Peggy Breeden paid to have the patches made. “We were able to set aside money out of that to have this year’s patches made,” said McLaughlin. “Anything we raise beyond that will help Amanda fight her battle.”

The chief said that, similar to last year’s campaign, they found Diaz’s story on social media. “She just has such an upbeat, positive attitude. She understands that as a single mom, she has to fight this. What other choice does she have? She has a little boy to take care of.”

“I am deeply humbled by the gratitude toward myself and my son during this time,” she said. “The support from the community, and each individual I have met, is much appreciated during my road to remission.”

(See details of her story in this edition).

RPD is collaborating with Ridgecrest Cinemas — where Diaz also works — to hold a community event in support of the cause. With a tentative date of Saturday, Oct. 19, the theater will screen the inspirational movie “Legends of the Night.” Residents are invited to turn out to support the cause, see the film and participate in a costume contest. (Watch RPD’s Facebook page for details).

“We don’t have a specific goal, we just want to raise as much money as possible,” said McLaughlin. “There are so many costs that can’t be calculated — not just for the treatment she receives here, but also for taking time off, traveling five days a week for radiation, paying for child care for her son.”

“I think cancer is something that affects all of us in some way,” said Det. Patrick Harlow, president of PEAR.

The current fund-raiser is one of many citizen-focused endeavors that PEAR holds throughout the year.

“Our officers live here, so all of us have a vested interest in having a safe and healthy community,” said Harlow. “We all have friends and family here, which drives our commitment to making our community a better place to live.”

PEAR donates and volunteers for numerous causes throughout the year, giving money to charities like American Cancer Society and St. Jude. Regular PEAR events included its recent bicycle safety drive, including free helmets and a bike raffle for the community.

Coming up is the Shop with a Cop program, where officers take eligible local children Christmas shopping.

Pictured: Amanda and Memphis Diaz (center) with members of PEAR. — Photo courtesy of RPD

Story First Published: 2019-10-11