Washington Township police officers are supporting women with breast cancer through October by collecting donations and wearing pink hats as part of their official uniforms.
“This is an outreach event to promote positivity and raise some awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection,” said Police Chief Patrick Gurscik. “The pink hats that show support to all those fighting this devastating disease.”
This is the first year the police department has changed the uniform policy to promote breast cancer awareness. Its partner in the effort is Egizi Funeral Home, and local Police Benevolent Association (PBA) members will collect donations for Mothers Matter, a charity associated with the Lauren Rose Albert Foundation that is geared to mothers in financial and emotional need.
“It’s the least we can do to raise someone’s spirits when they see one of our officers wearing the pink hats, or raise that discussion about breast cancer awareness,” Gurscik said.
The department has collected $400 out of its $500 goal for donations that will fund gift bags for women going through radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
“Many years ago (2013) we did a project, Think Pink Project, with Girl Scouts, and that’s how this concept started with special gift bags,” said Susan Rose, founder and president of the foundation. She started the nonprofit in memory of her daughter Rose, who died in a 1999 car accident.
“We looked into this need and we consulted with nurse educators. We developed a list of products both medically practical and pampering.”
Mothers Matter started as an organization of volunteers who created gift bags for women in need of toiletries and other pampering products. Now it uses donations to help women through difficult treatments for cancer.
“The message behind them is to really offer comfort and encouragement and a message that we care,” Rose noted.
There are two types of gift bags: one for patients going through chemotherapy and another for patients taking radiation treatments. The bags are given to women at the beginning stages of their treatment and are filled with items such as specially made pillows, writing journals, playing cards and puzzle books. The bags also offer various care items, including soaps and lotions, nail polish, eyebrow pencils and lip gloss.
Mothers Matter works with seven local cancer centers and gives out more than 1,200 bags every year. All items in the bags are donated or purchased with donations that have been more difficult to come by in the midst of COVID-19.
“We are honored to have the support of the police department,” Rose said. “They are our neighbors, and they have always been very supportive.”
For more information about Mothers Matter, visit https://www.laurenslegacy.org. Anyone looking to donate can email firstname.lastname@example.org or send donations to: Lauren Rose Albert Foundation, 106 Kenwood Drive, Cherry Hill 08034.