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Arresting cancer

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By Cameron Small
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

The women and men in blue keep our streets safe—arresting wrongdoers; teaching young children how to stay out of danger; and, contrary to stereotypes, not drinking copious amounts of coffee or over indulging in doughnuts. Outside their uniform and their duty, though, police officers are people—with hobbies, pastimes, and some with an even stronger desire to give back to their communities.

Take Dover’s Chief of Police Peter McGowan. This year - as he has for the past thirteen years - Chief McGowan participated in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk (BMJFW) with the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association on September 25.

“When I first became Chief in Millis in 2004, I attended a meeting at the Dana Farber / Jimmy Fund Clinic,” says Chief McGowan. “[I] saw the amazing work that they do there, and I have been a proud participant ever since. There are so many ways to help, from blood or platelet donations, to the Jimmy Fund Walk, to the Pan Mass Challenge. Cancer is a horrible disease that touches everyone in some way, and I am glad to be able to contribute in this small way.”

Chief McGowan is no stranger to the effects of cancer - not just on the patient, but on the family of the patient. “Both of my parents and all four grandparents had cancer, as well as numerous friends and acquaintances. My dad, specifically, beat it three times, and was a 30+ year survivor.”

As of September 26, Chief McGowan has helped to raise $896 this year, surpassing his fundraising goal. To make a donation to the BMJFW in Chief McGowan’s name, you can visit:
Chief McGowan wasn’t the only police chief in the area who participated in the BMJFW this year. Medfield’s Chief of Police Robert Meaney has walked the Marathon route eight times. (The BMJFW consists of four routes: the Marathon Route, which starts in Hopkinton; the Half Marathon Route, which starts in Wellesley; the newly added 10k Route, which starts in Newton; and the 5k Route, which starts at the Dana-Farber institute in Boston. All four routes culminate at Copley Square in Boston.)

While Chief McGowan understands the hardships of cancer on the family of the patient, Chief Meaney has a firsthand experience with cancer, being a survivor himself. To make a donation to the BMJFW in Chief Meaney’s name, you can visit: As of September 21, Chief Meaney has only raised a third of his goal. Donations are accepted until October 17.

It was not just veteran walkers who returned to the BMJFW this year. Needham Chief of Police (and Walpole resident) John Schlittler was a rookie walker, participating in the BMJFW for the first time. Chief Schlittler’s fundraising page can be found here: Already, Chief Schlittler has raised $1,153 and almost four-hundred percent of his target goal. Presumably, Chief Schlittler walked for his mother and father-in-law, both of whom are currently undergoing treatments for cancer.

Also walking this year was Wellesley’s Chief of Police Terrence Cunningham. Like Chief Meaney, Chief Cunningham has only raised a third of his target goal. To donate to Chief Cunningham, you could visit In addition to being the Chief of Police in Wellesley, Chief Cunningham is also currently serving as the President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Working with Interpol in Europe, Chief Cunningham was unavailable for any further comments.

According to their website, the BMJFW has raised “more than $100 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s fight against cancer since 1989.”

To all the Chiefs of Police who work to keep our communities safe, we thank you.

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