(Contest Nominee) COPS FIGHTING CANCER Provides Financial and Emotional Support to Colorado Families Fighting Cancer

Citywide Banks employees have nominated seven Colorado charities to compete in its Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place on Facebook from July 7-21, 2014. The community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between nominees based on the voting results.  Facebook Voting Page

In 1987, just two weeks into his training at the police academy in Buffalo, New York, Officer James Seneca was diagnosed with leukemia. He remembers what it felt like to get help and support during the six months of treatment from friends and family, and even a few strangers.  He beat the disease and was changed by his experience. When he moved to Colorado in 1995 and joined the Aurora Police Department, he had a strong desire to figure out how to help cancer patients.

In 2003, when he read the story of a 3-year-old named Brianna Roberts who was fighting cancer, his heart went out to her and her family. “It just lit me on fire and I had to help this little girl,” explained Seneca.

He, and other officers from the Victims Services Unit in Aurora, hosted a dinner and silent auction that raised over $15,000 for a little girl that they had never met.

“I think it showed Brianna’s family a different side to police officers. We’re not just about sending people to jail. They saw a compassionate side of the force,” Seneca said.

And that’s how Cops Fighting Cancer (CFC) was started. “Doing the fundraiser for Brianna opened my eyes to other families in Colorado that needed help and assistance. I got on a mission to raise more money and more awareness and more support from various police departments throughout Colorado,” Seneca explained.

CFC went from having the support of two police departments in Colorado in 2003 to 34 departments in 2014. They award 12 to 15 grants a year, and also visit children receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora. The organization has now helped over 200 local families and visited more than 7,000 children.

Families can apply for an award from the Cops Fighting Cancer Fund (CFC Fund) directly on www.CopsFightingCancer.org. Seneca says he also nominates families from articles he reads in the paper and referrals from social service agencies and hospitals. Each grant is a one-time award to help an individual or family get through a critical situation affected by cancer.

Seneca remembers the story of a single mom that is a good example of CPC’s impact. The family’s car kept breaking down, which made it difficult to transport their son with leukemia to and from the hospital for treatment. She contacted CFC, and the organization was able to pay for a new engine and tires.

Another story involves an eighth-grade boy whose mom had died of cancer. The staff at the child’s middle school contacted CFC so that they could help the young boy pay for a $300 urn to hold his mother’s ashes.

Seneca says every situation is different. A grant could go toward paying rent, groceries, medication, utilities or some other need. “Sometimes a mom or dad has to take a leave of absence from their work to be with their child while they’re going through treatment, and the bills start piling up. People don’t care if you have cancer; you still have to pay your bills. We try to identify the greatest need and take it from there,” he said.

The community has helped CFC raise funds in many creative ways. They’ve had boxing events, fashion shows, spaghetti dinners, and cross-fit challenges. Seneca says that anyone is welcome and encouraged to host an event on CFC’s behalf; just run it by them first.

One of CFC’s annual events is called The Long Blue Line and it’s “just magical,” Seneca says. It started in 2002 with just a handful of officers visiting patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado at Christmas time. This year, they expect over 200 officers from 34 departments to start at 32nd and Airport road, proceed in a sea of blue in law enforcement vehicles, down Colfax Avenue to Children’s Hospital Colorado to hand deliver gifts to every child there.

A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks, Seneca says, would simply go toward helping more Colorado families and individuals who are fighting cancer. For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.CopsFightingCancer.org or follow CFC on Facebook.

How to Give Cops Fighting Cancer a Hand-Up

  1. “LIKE” THEM ON FACEBOOK during the July contest (charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)
  2. VOTE FOR THEM on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page (charity nominee with most votes will get $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks)
  3. POST A COMMENT about what you like about CFC on Citywide Banks Facebook page
  4. SHARE posts about this contest and CFC with your family, friends, and coworkers (tell them to support CFC)

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest
For more than 50 years, family owned, Colorado focused Citywide Banks has been a passionate champion of our local charities. Our Charity Hand-Up Contests spotlight seven Colorado causes nominated by bank employees. Then, based on a 15-day community vote on Facebook, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations to the nominees. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/contest/.

How to Cast Your Vote – July 7-21, 2014
The contest is open to the general public within the Denver/Boulder community (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at  www.Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 15-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

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