PLATTSMOUTH – Christmas presents for many families come wrapped under a tree or stuffed in a stocking.
Plattsmouth police officers gave the Project Pink’d organization a memorable gift in the form of a large check Dec. 23.
Plattsmouth Police Chief Steve Rathman and Plattsmouth Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 34 Secretary/Treasurer Bob Sorenson presented a check for $2,500 to Project Pink’d President/Founder Cynthia Sturgeon and Vice President David Sturgeon. The ceremony took place inside the Cass County Law Enforcement Center.
“We’re more than happy to do this,” Rathman told the Sturgeons. “You have such a great program and we’re excited we can help you out. We know that all of the funds that the community and our partners have raised are going to go to a good place.”
Cynthia Sturgeon said she was grateful for the Plattsmouth department’s gesture. She told Rathman and Sorenson many people would benefit from the local generosity.
“This is easily going to impact at least 250 people,” Sturgeon said. “I just want you to know how much you guys are helping. This is just wonderful.”
Plattsmouth police officers raised funds from their participation in the “Pink Patch Project” and “No Shave November” initiatives this fall. They collected money by selling apparel items that featured special pink-colored police patches on them. They also gathered donations by growing beards and mustaches throughout the month of November.
Members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 34 handled the financial aspect of the project. Primary commercial partners in town included Plattsmouth State Bank, Hy-Vee, Gregg Young Automotive Group, Midwest Regional Agency-Pam Caba and Henry-Hobscheidt Motors.
Cynthia Sturgeon founded Project Pink’d in 2010 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She survived the disease and now leads an organization that has helped thousands of people over the past decade.
Project Pink’d served more than 3,600 breast cancer survivors across 81 cities and 47 counties in Nebraska and western Iowa in 2018. The group began working primarily in the Omaha-Council Bluffs-Bellevue area but has expanded into other counties over the past few years.
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“This is our heart,” Sturgeon said. “It’s our duty to give back and help as many people as we can.”
Sturgeon said a large portion of Plattsmouth’s donation would be used to create more Healing Hearts Survivor Kits for area residents. Project Pink’d distributed more than 800 kits to 33 healthcare facilities in the region last year.
The kits include many informational items that can help breast cancer patients before, during and after the treatment process. They are tailored to each patient with the intention of easing some of their worries about their cancer diagnosis.
“When we first started I would hear survivors talk about what they would have liked to have known when they were going through treatment,” Sturgeon said. “They had the same concerns whether they were going through chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. We felt if we could provide these types of kits then it could help them with their experiences and could let them know that they’re not alone.”
Project Pink’d has expanded its reach with a variety of programs for breast cancer survivors. The organization’s Messages of Hope program touched more than 1,000 people last year with 32,736 messages. Each survivor received a Jar of Hope filled with daily affirmations designed to brighten their days each morning.
The organization has helped people buy wigs and compression garments during their treatment, and it has provided financial assistance for daily costs such as rent or mortgage payments, childcare expenses, insurance premiums and grocery bills. It has also hosted wellness conferences and seminars, arranged nutritional classes and provided Thanksgiving meals for patients.
Plattsmouth police became involved in the “Pink Patch Project” last year after Rathman learned that La Vista officers had joined the national program. La Vista police wore pink versions of their department’s insignia on their uniforms and sold pink items to area residents.
Police departments in Bellevue, Blair, Boys Town, Kearney, La Vista, North Platte, Omaha, Papillion, Plattsmouth, Ponca, Ralston and South Sioux City took part in the project this year. Sheriff’s departments in Buffalo, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties also participated in the 2019 program.
Rathman said he was pleased that department members were able to help Project Pink’d. He said local officers would maintain their relationship with the organization in the future.
“We want to say thank you to all of our partners and to everyone who has donated,” Rathman said. “This is definitely something we’ll be continuing for many years to come.”