Pinking out the PD

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From left to right, Colchester police Sgt. James Roy, Cpl. Roger Fisher, Dave Carmichael, Det. Jack Lehneman, Chief Jennifer Morrison, Robin Parry, Jim Neary, Pat Spacapan, Sherry LaBarge and Wanda Morin. The police department presented a $2,300 check to members of the Colchester CAN-survive Team ahead of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk later this year. (Photo by Michaela Halnon)

A local Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team got an early fundraising boost last week after receiving a $2,300 donation from the Colchester Police Department.

The PD raised the funds through the sale of more than 270 limited edition pink patches, each designed to mirror the emblems that decorate officers’ own uniforms.

Outside the police station last Wednesday morning, several officers gathered to hand the check to members of the Colchester CAN-survive Team, a group largely made up of town employees, their friends and family.

“We’re always amazed at the local community and how much they support us,” said Robin Parry, CAN-survive team captain and town public works department facility manager. “They always do more than we ask. We’re really lucky.”

Parry’s team has participated in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides walk for four years. In that time, it’s raised more than $40,000.

The team’s major fundraising event occurs just a week before Making Strides in October, a 5K walk/run in Bayside called Pink Out the Park. That gathering includes a small survivor ceremony, plus donated prizes and a raffle.

The team has also tackled smaller fundraising efforts, like tag sales and participated in Mazza’s annual strawberry festival.

Parry, a breast cancer survivor herself, said she started the team after beginning work at the town offices. It was there she met coworker Cathy Neary, who died in 2014 after an 11-year battle with breast cancer, according to her obituary.

Neary’s husband, Jim, was present at the police station when officers gave their donation. With the group’s fifth year of fundraising now underway, both Jim Neary and Parry said they’re brainstorming something special to mark the milestone.

Also in attendance was Dave Carmichael, community manager for the Making Strides organization. Carmichael said the CAN-survive team offered an “extreme example” of the fundraising events individual teams could organize.

CPD’s pink patch is pictured.

Parry credited the community for her team’s success, saying local businesses and residents alike frequently go above and beyond what is asked.

Carmichael said he was inspired by the police department’s ideas and efforts, too, and planned to offer ACS resources to support similar projects should they come up in the future.

Colchester Police Chief Jennifer Morrison said requests came in from across the country after the Colchester patch was listed on the Pink Patch Project website, a public awareness campaign that aims to increase publicity and fund research treatment and education.

“We get emails all the time [and] people sending us self-addressed stamped envelopes and $10, asking, ‘Can you send me one of your pink patches?’” Morrison said. “The patch has flown far and wide.”

Colchester and Winooski police are among around 100 other departments listed on the site. About 25 patches are still available for purchase in the police department lobby at $10 each, Morrison said.

Donations to the Colchester CAN-survive Team can be dropped off at the town offices. Those interested in participating in the Pink Out the Park 5K can sign up at http://bit.ly/2rJbJGb. A list of participating police departments can be found at www.pinkpatchproject.com.