Dealing with the effects of cancer is a personal issue for Oxford Police Department (OPD) Lieutenant Lara Fening. When she was a year old, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Growing up, she saw the effects of a mastectomy and worried about the cancer returning.
Fening’s mom was on her mind when she decided to wear a pink badge for the entire month of October. Fening wanted to honor her mother’s battle while raising awareness and money for breast cancer charities.
This October, OPD is raising money for Luna Cares, a foundation supporting women in the Oxford area with breast cancer. The money helps pay for their medical expenses, provides wellness baskets and offers coupons for a variety of wig styles.
Throughout the month, OPD officers can purchase pink badges for $20, which they wear instead of their standard badge.
The fundraiser began last year when OPD adopted the idea after hearing about other agencies who donned the pink badges.
Any officer who bought a pink badge for last year’s charity needed to make a $20 donation to Luna Cares for permission to wear it again.
“The pink badge just raises that [breast cancer] awareness,” Police Chief John Jones said. “It humanizes the badge, so to speak. Talking to other officers here who’ve had family members touched by this, it’s something that means a lot to them.”
The scope of the issue played another factor in OPD’s support.
“I think almost everyone has been affected by [cancer] somehow,” Fening said.
Fening said some officers bought additional badges to honor family members who are currently engaging in the cancer battle, and loved ones who have lost the fight.
The final fundraising total won’t be calculated until the end of the month, but OPD has raised $440 so far. Jones expects the final amount to be slightly higher than last year’s total of $600.