One Gift at a time with Colorado police officers
This holiday season, the Aurora Police Department, along with officers from across the state, are bringing joy and a little laughter to the families at Colorado Children’s Hospital. On Thursday, Dec. 13, more than 500 police officers visited hospital rooms to deliver toys during the 16th annual Joe Bumberger Cops Fighting Cancer event.
Aurora police officer, Jim Seneca, spearheaded this mission more than 15 years ago after recovering from his own cancer diagnosis and treatment. Today, the Aurora Police Department Officer (pictured Officer John Lee and (left) Sergent Erick Ortiz (right), have expanded their efforts to include more donations, police departments from across Colorado, and volunteers than ever before. All toy and gift donations were generously donated from Colorado businesses, community members, and area departments.
The event included a motorcade, known as the Long Blue Line, which stretched from Airport Road to Colorado Children’s Hospital in Aurora. This grand entrance was seen by hundreds of spectators as well as kids from their bedroom windows.
Led by a procession of bagpipes, uniformed officers paraded into the hospital filling the hospital atrium. Throughout the afternoon, they delivered dozens of toys and visited with the families with children staying at the hospital.
This year, Seneca introduced Gabe Santistevan (pictured below), a fourteen-year-old cancer survivor and founder of Gabe’s Plate. Starting in January 2019, Colorado drivers have the option to receive customized Cure Childhood Cancer licenses plates. Santistevan’s efforts to introduce the plates included meeting with state senators and organizing more than 8,000 support signatures.
Inspired by bringing awareness to childhood cancer and the annual Cops Fighting Cancer event, Santistevan and his family members showcased the plate design at the event.
Seneca already has big plans for next year as he hopes to continue to grow the event. His ultimate goal is to take this event coast to coast by serving as an example for other police departments. Before leaving, Seneca left with this message for the officers, “you will be a blessing to these kids like they are a blessing to you”.