Cancer Cops

Reporter: Mark Gibson

This is not some gang of outlaws.. in fact, they're law enforcers.. some of WA's top cops, including commissioner, Karl O'Callaghan.. about to set off on a marathon ride across the country."Some of our days are around about 800 kilometres, that's a big ride on a motorbike for a day and I expect to come off the bike at the end of the day with a sore backside -And sticking strictly to the speed limit the whole way across I'm sure. -Sticking strictly to the speed limit, we've got a road marshall who's going to keep us honest, that's true."

Here's why they're doing it.. for children like Emily Turner, who's just recovered from a type of cancer called neuroblastoma. Emily had a tumour on her spine. Emily's Mum, Tina, knows her little girl is one of the lucky ones. "Oh, just the relief, it was just like I had this weight just come off my shoulders and it was just one thing that you had hoped and prayed that would happen, well it happened."

"This is just a reflection of people wanting to make a difference and it's fantastic." Princess Margaret oncologist Doctor Nick Gottardo, says money raised on the ride will go towards a new 3D imaging machine. It'll help monitor tumours and lead to better treatment.. but costs half a million dollars. "Our current therapies either don't cure the children, or if they do cure them they leave them with a lot of side effects, so we're wanting to discover new therapies that will specifically target the tumour and leave the good cells alone."

And that's where the coppers come into it.. you see, little Emily's Dad is a policeman.. the commissioner was touched by her story.. and bingo.. 38 officers agreed to ride nearly four thousand kilometres and raise at least 5 thousand dollars each. Karl O'Callaghan says "Initially our target was a hundred thousand dollars, we expect to exceed that, we've had a lot of support from the corporate sector and police officers themselves are raising money and donating money."

The riders will set off from the memorial wall here at the Police Academy on September 11, officers from every capital city will do the same, before coming together in Canberra to honour their fallen colleagues. The only difference is the WA coppers will be doing it to help save the lives of kids with cancer. Karl O'Callaghan says "The police officers are all doing it in their own time on annual leave, they have to pay for their own fuel, they have to pay for their own accommodation and they have to pay for their own food." Dr Nick Gottardo says "I feel highly privileged that they're wanting to do this to raise the machine to assist my particular research project." Karl O'Callaghan says "It is heart wrenching to see so many kids receiving treatment down there and if we can improve their survivability, it's a great outcome for the community and everybody."

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