OXFORD, Mass. - Patricia King had hopes, dreams and a plan after high school.
"She was planning on going into the military. She was due to leave June 18," her father, Raymond King, explained.
But Patricia King also had a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia.
And that made her a realist.
"We're finding little notes now. And we've been talking with her friends. And she had said, I know this disease is going to take me. But I'm going to fight," her mother, Deb King, said.
Patricia King died in late August. Her long-term dream of becoming a police officer was left hanging.
"She hated bullying," Deb said. "She hated seeing people get robbed. She wanted to try to make a difference."
While she was sick, a Worcester police officer who knew Patricia's story paid a visit. He unknowingly started something big.
"He had given her a couple of patches from Worcester," Deb said. "And after he left, Tricia said to me, 'mommy, this is so cool having these patches, because I'll never get to wear one.'"
Patricia never did get to wear one, but she began collecting them.
Her family continued to collect them in the grief-filled weeks following her death, helped by a local Facebook page called Burt's Brigade -- named after a hairless dog.
"We might be small -- so to speak -- but our followers, when we ask them to rally and step up for an issue, they never cease to amaze me," Burt's Brigade Moderator Gail Fairbanks said.
Now, the patches are rolling in from all over the country in memory of a young lady and all that might have been.
Patricia's family doesn't know how many patches will come in, but whatever patches they do collect will be sewn into a quilt to be put on display in her memory.
Her family is asking police departments to help build her collection of police and fire patches.
Interested police and fire departments can send patches in memory of Patricia King to:
Michele and Julio Santos
4 Highland Ave
Oxford, MA 01540
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