University Police officers, staff and community service officers will begin wearing pink badges, undershirts and ribbons to bring public awareness to the national breast cancer awareness campaign called The Pink Patch Project starting Oct. 1.
This will be the University Police department’s first official year participating in the project. The department will also fundraise on campus for City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment organization, by selling pink CSUF PD patches and pink T-shirts displaying an emblematic badge and breast cancer awareness symbols tying it to the department, according to Officer Katie Cappuccio, the pink patch program leader within the CSUF police department.
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We’re selling our @pinkpatchproject t-shirts and patches at our Coffee With A Cop event. All proceeds benefit City of Hope and breast cancer awareness and research. @csufofficial #upd #bethechange #calstatefullerton #communitypolicing #coffeewithacop #cancersucks #csufp #csufadmin
The patches will cost $10 and T-shirts will be $20, and they will be sold throughout October.
Officer Cappuccio said City of Hope services have personally benefited a close friend of hers.
“(My friend) got pregnant and started seeing some different changes in her body and thought it was just because she was pregnant. That eventually led to a miscarriage and more symptoms in her breasts. She finally said, ‘This isn’t right. Something’s not right,’” Cappuccio said.
Cappuccio said the City of Hope doctors started her friend’s chemo right away and completed her double mastectomy in August.
“She was the driving force in my mind this year,” Cappuccio said.
In 2018, there has been a record of 2.1 million cases of breast cancer which contributed to an estimated total of 9.6 million cancer-related deaths worldwide. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer, according to 2018 statistics from the World Health Organization.
“I have had four or five family members that have all died from different types of cancer. Some of those were more brutal than others. I watched my grandfather, who was my idol growing up, this big burly guy, broken down to nothing,” said University Police Capt. Scot Willey.
The Pink Patch Project emphasizes the importance of early detection and genetic screening, according to the City of Hope website.
Cappuccio said cancer is a fast-acting disease and that without awareness, conversation and teaching individuals to look for signs, “a lot of times it shows up and is past a point of fixing it.”
“I’m almost 50 years old and my mom called me saying, ‘I’m calling all my boys and I want you all to go down to the doctor and have a colonoscopy because you all need to get checked.’ And I said you got it, mom. So I hung up and called Kaiser and got that going,” Willey said.
The campaign history originates from the Seal Beach Police Department, who wore pink patches on its uniforms during breast cancer awareness month in October 2013. In 2015, the Irwindale Police Department jumped on the idea and decided to also begin selling patches to the community, according to a 2018 Pink Patch Project factsheet.
According to Willey, although the University Police department is a small organization, incorporating the pink patch initiative allows campus police to do its part to raise awareness, start a dialogue about the issue and help fund cancer research and education.
The department hopes individuals will donate their time and effort as a way of contributing to the search for a cure through the purchase of fundraiser items, Willey said.
“We could sit and talk about a hundred different charities that we could send money to, but when you are talking about something that affects nearly every single person in the world to some degree, to some level, it’s like: Come on. There’s got to be something more we can do,” Cappuccio said. “How can we not at least help a little?”