CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Chattanooga police officers say they will never forget the positive attitude of Sgt. Brenda Hafley. 

Almost two years ago, doctors told Sgt. 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. 

Saturday she died at her home at the age of 49.

Friends and colleagues admired Sgt. Hafley for her work with the community. Many remember her as their DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer in elementary school. She later worked as a court liaison.

Det. Larry Lockmiller, a longtime friend was among dozens of CPD officers who worked to remodel her house earlier this year, helping her cope with illness.  At the time, he told Eyewitness News, "To see the condition she is in just breaks our hearts and makes us want to help that much more."

Sgt. Hafley was dealing with a cancer that targets the soft tissue of the body, muscles, tendons, blood vessels and nerves.  In the United States there are fewer than ten known cases of adults with the disease. Sgt. Hafley was one of them.

Her local "family in blue" stepped in to help, working to remodel her home, help with her medical bills, and boost her spirits.  Along with veteran colleagues, cadets from the Police Academy stepped up to lend a hand.

Born Brenda Kay Black, she graduated from Red Bank High School in 1981.  She began working for the Chattanooga Police Department in 1987.  Here is the obituary announcement from Hamilton Funeral Home:

Brenda Kay Black Hafley, left this earth and entered heaven's gate on Saturday, August 25, 2012.

After graduating from Red Bank High School, Brenda entered the Chattanooga Police Academy.

She graduated and served the City of Chattanooga as a Police Sergeant for 25 years. As an officer, she attended Chattanooga State College and University of Tennessee at Knoxville cohort studies.

Brenda served the children of the City School System as a DARE instructor. She served as the Tennessee State DARE treasurer for 3 years. She was a member and treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers for 5 years. Brenda had a love and respect for her fellow officers throughout the years. Brenda was a member of the Red Bank Class of '81 Alumni reunion Committee for 20 years. Brenda took great pride in her Native American Heritage, and she was active in the Native American Indian Association. She spent much of her time educating young people on this topic and assisting in the restoration of the Trail of Tears on the Southside.
She shared her life with many friends. She always greeted you with a smile. She was "Adopted" by numerous loving families and loved the outdoors, fishing the beach and horses.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Lester Martin and Nell Martin Wilson, William & Juanita Black, Florence (Flo) Horton, her mother, Peggy L. Black; sisters, Cerine Haden and Verine Nutter.

Brenda is survived by her husband, Charles E. Hafley, daughter, Charla K. Hafley, the "Light of her life", and mother, Janie Wells, all of Chattanooga; father, Geobel W. Black, Paris, Kentucky; brothers, Mark Black, Dunlap; Lester Black and Jessie Black, Chattanooga; sister, Anita Black Perry, Denver, Colorado; estended family members, David & Ruth Hafley, Chattanooga; William Hafley, Nashville; James Hafley, Red Bank; Jenny L. (Eddie) Hafley of Georgia; Uncle John and Marilyn Black, Paris, Kentucky; Aunts, Connie (Garnett) Dunn, Georgia; Judie (Denny) Hullender, Alabama; several nieces, nephews and other family.

Special thanks to her dear friends, Janie Fossett, Dave and Cindy Matthews and to all caregivers in Brenda's life.

Services will be held at 11:00 AM Thursday at Silverdale Baptist Church with Rev. Tony Walliser, Rev. Janice Robbins, Rev. Ann Weeks and Rev. Jimmy C. Ball officiating.

Interment will be in Hamilton Memorial Gardens with Rick Ingle of the Native American Association officiating. Honorary Pallbearers will be all Law Enforcement Officers.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Forgotten Child Fund, Julie Jacks Scholarship or the Tim Chapin Scholarship Funds.

The family will receive friends from 2-4 & 6-8 PM Wednesday at the funeral home.

Arrangements are by Hamilton Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 4506 Hixson Pike, Hixson, Tennessee 37343. (423) 531-3975