Lynn Police, Cops for Kids with Cancer Assist Family of 4-year-old Diego Cornejo

The Lynn Police Department Marathon Team and Cops for Kids with Cancer presented a $5,000 check to the family of four-year-old Diego Cornejo Thursday at the Lynn Police Station Community Room. Front row are Francisco Castro, Annette Rinaldi, Maria Pena, Wendy Prudencio and her sons Diago and Carlos, Famay Prudencio, and Savanna Castro. Back row are Tom Dill, State Police Lt. Bill Coulter, Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger, Cecil Jones, president of the Boston Police Department Runners Club, Bob Guiney of BPD, Gary Hagerty of Lynn PD, Ashley Kmiec of Cambridge PD Mike Kmiec of Lynn PD John McKenna of Lynn PD, Rob Avery of Lynn PD and Glenn Dunnigan of Lynn PD.

The local effort was led by Lynn Police officer and former basketball standout Mike Kmiec and his wife, Ashley, an officer in the Cambridge Police Department.

The Lynn Police Department learned about four-year-old Diego Cornejo through an e-mail the department received in January from Annette Rinaldi. Annette owns a florist shop in Revere called “Flowers by Annette” and one of her employees is Diego’s grandmother. Rinaldi learned that Diego was battling leukemia and has been undergoing treatments for the past several weeks at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

The medical procedures left Diego extremely tired and required an overnight stay for him and his mother, Wendy Prudencio. Wedny had to quit her job as an office assistant in order to support Diego and her other son, six-year-old Carlos. Rinaldi asked the LPD for assistance in finding some help for Diego’s family.

The LPD then contacted the Boston Police Department, specifically Detective Steve Green and Detective Cecil Jones and asked them for some suggestions. These two officers have been close friends to a lot of officers at the LPD.

Jones is the president of the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation and the Boston Police Runners Club. Det. Steve Green serves on both of these boards as well. Several LPD officer have participated in the numerous Boston to D.C. bike rides with the Boston Police and several other departments to raise funds for the police memorial, youth organizations, Dana Farber, and several other charities.

Jones and Green referred the LPD to Retired Boston PD Superintendent Robert Faherty, who is the current chairman of Cops For Kids With Cancer.

The LPD told Faherty about Diego and asked his permission to use the “Cops for Kids with Cancer” as the motivation to raise funds by running this year’s Boston Marathon, The LPD Marathon team received its marathon numbers through the Boston Police and the Massachusetts State Police Runners Club.

The LPD noted to Faherty that it has seven officers that have been training to run Boston and would like to do something for Diego’s family. Wendy Prudencio was told that the officers want to run the marathon for Diego and she was quite overwhelmed by the gesture.

Chief Faherty sent the LPD the paperwork for the family to fill out and presented his case to the CFKWC board of directors, who unanimously agreed to help out Diego and his family with a $5,000 donation.

Another important person at the check presentation ceremony was Lt. William Coulter of the Massachusetts State Police. Lt. Coulter, a cancer survivor himself, has been a huge help to his department. He has invited Lynn Police officers to run with his running club, MSP Striders, and is also a member of the board for CFKWC. Mr. Coulter is a legend in the law enforcement community having run over 100 marathons and competed in numerous ironman triathlons as well.

The Lynn Police thanked Tom Dill, owner of the Lazy Dog Restaurant, for hosting a fundraiser Sunday at the restaurant to benefit Cops for Kids with Cancer. Tom Newhall of Cuffe McGinn Funeral Home made a generous donation of Boston Red Sox monster seats and limousine rides for the raffle drawing.

The members of the 2011 Lynn Police Marathon Team include:

Sgt. Dave McEnaney, Lynn Police, (U.S. Marine Corps veteran and marathon runner who has competed in the Boston Marathon a dozen times);

Sgt. Glenn Dunnigan, Lynn Police (his tenth marathon, 8 Bostons, one Marine Corps Marathon, one ironman triathlon);

Officer Mike Kmiec, Lynn Police (has competed in the Boston Marathon four times and raised numerous funds for CFKWC);

Officer Ashley Kmiec, Cambridge (Mass.) Police (wife of Officer Mike Kmiec. She has competed in the Boston Marathon three times and has raised numerous funds for CFKWC);

Officer John McKenna, Lynn Police (his second Boston Marathon);

Officer Brian Chisholm, Lynn Police (his first Boston Marathon);

Detective Robert Avery, Lynn Police (his first Boston Marathon); and

Detective Gary Hagerty, Lynn Police (his first Boston Marathon).

(Donations can be sent to Cops for Kids with Cancer, P.O. Box 85096, Braintree, MA 02185.

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