Mark Bailey, left, Anna Arabia, Mary Ann King and Andrew Homestead pose for a photo.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Andrew Homestead, a former city police officer, is running in the 2013 Boston Marathon for the charity Cops for Kids with Cancer in recognition of 16-year-old Anna Arabia, who lives in North Adams with her parents Joseph and Kathy.
"Running the marathon has been an incredible journey, I have been training since December and the Arabias have been behind me all the way," Homestead said. "I couldn't be more honored to run for my friend Anna."
To support the cause locally, a spaghetti dinner will be held at Bounti-Fare in Adams on Monday, Feb. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets for adults are $10; seniors and kids are $7. Anyone interested in donating money or raffle items can contact Mary Ann King at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Tickets are available at the North Adams Police Department.
Homestead was a member of the department for five years. He recently moved to Plymouth with his fiancée after accepting a new job on the South Shore.
Cops for Kids with Cancer has recently helped Anna and her family with the purchase of ramps for the outside of their home and a chairlift for stairs.
"This great organization is focused on getting money raised out quickly to families facing costly expenses," Kathy Arabia said. "In our case they gave Anna the mobility she needed to be able to enjoy being a kid."
Cops for Kids with Cancer was founded in 2002 by retired Boston Police Captain John Dow who turned his own battle with cancer into a positive force. He began by coordinating a golf tournament between Boston Police officers and Irish Garda officers to raise money for children's oncology wards so the kids could enjoy outings. When Dow lost his own battle with cancer, leadership was handed over to retiring Boston Superintendent-in-Chief Bob Faherty. Most of the board of directors is active or retired law enforcement. Each member serves as a volunteer and minimal amounts are spent on supplies. All funds raised go directly to kids with cancer and their families.
Cops for Kids with Cancer takes applications from police officers and board members to help with the financial burden facing these families. Some examples of what they have supported include paying rent and insurance costs, covering the costs of travel for treatments — including gas, hotel and meals — and the many medical supplies and co-pays not covered by insurance.
In 2012, 71 families each received $5,000. Since 2008, the organization has given to 200 families in need in-and-around Massachusetts, totaling $1 million and more than $115,000 was given to hospital oncology units.