Just days after joining the force, a new police officer found out he has stage four cancer.
Officer Shawn DePasquale, a 26-year-old Brockton native now serving the Rollinsford Community in New Hampshire, didn't expect to be diagnosed with stage four colon cancer at his age.
"I mean I'm 26, didn’t expect to come down with this," said DePasquale. "You hear you have stage four cancer and immediately everything just fades out."
DePasquale's diagnosis came just a few weeks after he landed his dream job as a police officer back in December, but says he hasn't let the cancer get in the way of protecting his community.
Rolinsford Police Chief Bob Ducharme says the whole department was devastated to learn about DePasquale's illness, especially since he hadn't yet earned enough paid time off for his treatment. DePasquale needs to take time off without pay to do everything he can to get rid of his cancer, which is quickly spreading to his liver.
"Being the new guy on the force, his vacation time, his sick time was quite limited," said Chief Ducharme.
DePasquale's community is rallying behind him, trying to help someone who protects and serves them daily.
"I've just been so humbled by this whole experience that so many people have reached out to help, especially in this day and age where there’s a lot of anti-law enforcement right now," said Chief Ducharme.
DePasquale says he's optimistic he'll keep doing the job he loves for many years to come.
"It’s a combination of chemotherapy, I went through five weeks of radiation five days a week and then the chemotherapy the surgery, and now starting the chemotherapy for the liver," said DePasquale. "A positive attitude and some strong fighting music seems to do the trick for me."
He also hopes his story will bring more awareness to the illness so more people will get checked if they have the symptoms.
A fundraiser and silent auction to benefit DePasquale will be held on Friday, Aug. 24, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Dover Elks Lodge. The benefit will include a silent auction, raffles, a cash bar and potluck. Admission is $15.
A GoFundMe has also been established to help DePasquale with medical costs.
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