Police, cadets rally to help cancer-stricken sergeant
(WRCB) – One by one, Chattanooga Police cadets get off the bus for a chance to help one of their own.
A year ago, doctors told Sgt. Brenda Hafley, a 25 year police veteran, she had a rare form of cancer known as Spindle Cell Rhabdomyosarcoma.
It is typically found in children and attacks the head and throat area.
Due to treatment, she became too weak to continue remodeling her the home.
Monday morning her back up team went to work.
Cadet Reuben Justice says, "It is a brotherhood, it truly is. I wouldn't think she would be surprised because she is part of a great organization."
Cadet Kelly Downs says, It makes us all so sympathetic towards her and we are so glad to help out in any way possible."
Sgt. Tim Tomisek says, "She is an amazing woman and amazing police officer."
People know Hafley in the force for her work with the community.
On the clock, she worked as a court liaison.
Det. Larry Lockmiller says, "To see the condition she was in then to seeing her now just breaks our hearts and makes you want to help that much more."
Now the real challenge begins.
Many of building materials are donated and supplies are short.
Brenda's extra income has now gone to most of her medical treatments.
Cadets emptied the house as the general contractor makes final preparations.
Now those who serve to help, are asking for the same service in return, for Brenda.
Detective Tomisek says, "She served her community and just does what's right, that's being a cop."
UPDATE: Monday 1pm
Chattanooga Police Sergeant Brenda Hafley has been with the department for nearly 25 years. Her colleagues refer to her as a model officer, dedicated to her community.
Last February, as Sergeant Hafley began remodeling her home, she received terrible news. She was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer, Spindle Cell Rhabdomyosarcoma.
It's a cancer that targets the soft tissue of the body, muscles, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. In the United States there are only eight known cases of adults with the disease. Sgt. Hafley is one of them.
Hafley fought the disease; a quarter century of fighting crime made her tough.
But as the medical bills began to mount, the repairs to her home were never completed. Hafley's home was deemed unlivable.
And that's where her family in blue stepped in to help.
Chattanooga Police officers began to raise money and volunteer to work on her home. Cadets from the Police Academy stepped up to lend a hand.
Pretty soon other members of the community offered assistance. When John DeGalleford, owner of Action Plumbing, heard of Sgt. Hafley's situation he donated manpower and know-how to help the officers.
However, officers say there is still much that needs to be done before Sgt. Hafley can return home. Walls remain unfinished, the kitchen is just an empty room, and siding still needs to be put on the outside of the home.
So now the officers of Chattanooga are turning to the community they protect, in hopes of helping one of their own.
1. Your Name
2. A phone number to reach you
3. How you can help
To learn more about Rhabdomyosarcoma