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Cops Fighting Cancer bring gift cards and joy to children

Aurora Police Officer Jim Seneca started the annual event after surviving cancer 35 years ago.

DENVER — The procession of police cars stretched for more than two miles on Thursday in a Long Blue Line, ending at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora. It was a line that, in many ways, started in upstate New York 35 years ago.

That was when Aurora Police Officer Jim Seneca was diagnosed with cancer and given a 30% chance of survival.

"I was feeling kind of sick, thought I had the flu, and lo and behold I was diagnosed with leukemia," Seneca said.

Against the odds, Seneca was cancer-free after six months of chemotherapy. He said the experience left him with a profound appreciation for life and for the difficulties of other cancer patients.

"I had to go through that storm to make me more empathetic for our families today," he said.

In 2003, Seneca founded Cops Fighting Cancer, an organization that provides financial and emotional support to Colorado cancer patients and their families. The Long Blue Line procession is their big event every year. This year, they gave kids and their families about $9,000 in gift cards for the holidays.

"When you're dealing with families that are going through this sort of thing, it brings back memories, and you understand what they're going through," Seneca said.

A 27-year veteran of the Aurora Police Department, Seneca said he still loves being a cop. He said helping people is the best part of the job, and the Long Blue Line the best day of the job.

"It's very humbling when you see their faces light up and they see an officer there," Seneca said. "Why not try to brighten up their day, why not try to meet these kids and inspire them to get better and get out of the hospital? The families love it, the parents love it, it's a win-win for everybody involved."

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