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Police growing out facial hair to fight childhood cancer

<i>KCTV</i><br/>Overland Park police officers are taking part in No-Shave November this month
Overland Park police officers are taking part in No-Shave November this month

By Joseph Hennessy

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    OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (KCTV) — Overland Park police officers are taking part in No-Shave November this month, but it’s for a cause.

Officers are growing out their facial hair to raise awareness for childhood cancer, in a partnership with local nonprofit organization Braden’s Hope.

Braden’s Hope For Childhood Cancer is named after Braden Hofen, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma at 3 years old. He was given a slim chance of survival with no known cure for it. Then his mom received devastating news that she had breast cancer.

He relapsed three months after finishing the initial treatment, drastically decreasing his chance of survival. Deliece wanted to research more about her cancer and her son’s cancer, and found a discrepancy in funding across the country.

“Childhood cancer receives less than 4 percent of the National Institute of Health’s budget for cancer research, but it’s the number one killer by disease among children,” she said.

As the president of Braden’s Hope, she said the objective is to work collaboratively with researchers and leaders at Children’s Mercy Hospital, the KU Cancer Center, and Stowers Institute to select and monitor research grants. They also are actively working with local agencies, like the Overland Park Police Department, to raise awareness and fundraise.

To help spread awareness about childhood cancer, Overland Park police officers can be seen this month with stubble to beards for No-Shave November. Sgt. Stewart Brought said it boosts morale for the crew, but it’s for a bigger reason than just that.

In years past, they’ve worked with national organizations to help raise awareness and funds, but they wanted to solely help a local cause this year.

“It was a no-brainer. That was an easy one. He goes to school at one of our high schools, and I met up with Deliece and started working together,” said Brought. “She said absolutely, they’d love to be a part of our efforts.”

Hofen said, “It creates a lot of awareness around town about our kids and the need for funding for their research, about their cause, and about why we need to help bring them hope for the future.”

“The Overland Park Police Department has been so good to our kids in so many ways and they do a lot of good things in the community, and this is just one of the many things that they do,” said Hofen.

The police department will present a check to Braden and his family next week. Last year they gave it to him by way of a bomb truck and robot, so this year’s presentation should be a fun one too.

He’s fighting daily alongside his family and friends at the OPPD who are raising awareness their way — by putting the razors away for a month.

“Especially kids dealing with cancer and stuff like that, if we can work to make their day a little better – it’s a win for both of us,” said Brought.

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