For the fourth year in a row, dozens of Watsonville Police Officers are growing out their beards to support local children with cancer.
The department suspended its “facial hair” policy for its annual fundraiser to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and Jacob’s Heart, a non-profit organization helping local families get through the most difficult times of their lives.
“It’s weird because you don’t see them with beards and out of nowhere just boom they all got beards,” said Elias Sanchez, whose four-year-old brother was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.
Sergeant Ely Uretsky said that in 2015, the police department wanted to do more for the community and they decided to collaborate with a local non-profit.
“We recognized Jacob’s Heart as being a wonderful thing in the community. So, the Watsonville Police Officers’ Association decided to start a fundraiser internally,” explained Sgt. Uretsky.
The beards are also great conversation starters, giving officers the opportunity to talk to community members about Jacob’s Heart and all the services and support it offers to local families.
“Once I knew the cause of it I was like, ‘Wow, it’s good’ because you get a conversation going,’” said 17-year-old Sanchez.
Uretsky said that over the years, the Watsonville Police Department has raised thousands of dollars.
“Each officer that donates 100 dollars is able to grow their facial hair for several months and start this outreach and then the police officers’ association collects that money and gives it to Jacob’s Heart,” said Uretsky.
The department raises about 3 to 4-thousand dollars annually. And that’s money that Jacob’s Heart has used in many different ways to help Sanchez’ toddler brother, Silas, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two.
“Jacob’s Heart has helped my family a lot because they provided rides to Stanford when we needed to go get chemotherapy and radiation,” said Sanchez. “It was one less stress off our shoulders.”
It’s been a long journey for Sanchez and his family, but they’ve gone through it with Jacob’s Heart right by their side.
“The moment I found out he was cancer-free, I teared up. I literally started crying of happiness,” explained Sanchez. “When people donate to Jacob’s Heart it really goes to like a really good cause and for those people, I’m really grateful.”
The Watsonville Police Officers’ Association will be presenting a check to Jacob’s Heart during their annual Kidrageous Carnival on Sunday, September 29 at the Watsonville Plaza from 12-4 pm.
It’s a great opportunity for families to come out, have a great time and support this great cause.
For more information, click on the following link http://bit.ly/2m4ngSo