Published DateLACONIA – Yesterday at noon, 4-year-old Austin Cote got his police badge — and his family got $5,000 to help him battle the malignant brain tumor he was diagnosed with when he was 6-months old.
Cops for Kids with Cancer Chairman Robert Flaherty — a retired Superintendent-in-Chief for the Boston Police Department — joined Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams to present Austin with a quilt made for him by some volunteers with his organization, along with other gifts including a stuffed bear and the aforementioned badge.
Flaherty said his organization began in 2007 when fellow Boston Capt. John Dow died in his eighties. The miracle, he said, was in 1980 Dow had been diagnosed with lung cancer, sought treatment, and was cured.
In Dow's retirement he traveled frequently to Ireland — where he became friendly with a retired Irish police officer who had also survived cancer. The two golfed together and discussed how devastating the emotional and dollar costs of fighting cancer can be to a family.
He said the Boston Police and police from Cork County, Ireland hosted each other in a golf tournament to raise money for Boston Hospitals who do cancer research. When Dow died this became his legacy.
The project morphed into Cops for Kids with Cancer. To date, said the Website, the organization has raised $1,098,500 and has assisted 157 families.
Flaherty said the priority families are families of police officers who have children with cancer. In the event there is money left over, the agencies takes applications through local police departments and gives money to non-police families.
He said this is the furthest north Cops for Kids with Cancer has made a donation. He said typically the agency assists Boston-area police and other families but lately has spread its wings in the hopes of raising more money and helping more New England families.
For Austin's family $5,000 is a miracle in itself. Austin's mother, Amy Beaudoin has been without a car since January. As for Austin, a police badge, his picture in the newspaper, and a chance to play with the horns and sirens of a Laconia Police cruiser is a great day in the life of any 4-year-old.
CAPTION – Retired Supt-in-Chief of the Boston Police Dept. Robert Flaherty gives 4-year-old Austin Cote a special quilt and some other gifts designed as part of his program Cops for Kids with Cancer yesterday at the Laconia Police Dept. Looking on is Austin's mother Amy Beaudin and Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)