AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The Aurora Police Department once again must face the challenge of cancer affecting one of their own, rallying together to help raise money for the family of Officer Tom Faustin. He helped to lead the campaign for Tayler Ellison two years ago, the daughter of another officer who battled cancer as a young teenager.
“It took my mind off a lot of going on and it make me laugh,” said Tayler Ellison. “I’m feeling pretty well.”
Faustin and the department created the “Ring of Fire” challenge for Ellison’s daughter. APD staff either ate a habanero pepper or three donuts in one minute and recorded themselves so she could watch while in the hospital. Her father said it meant so much to their family to see the response from his department and then the other agencies who took on the challenge.
“It was very humbling, extremely humbling,” said Officer Shane Ellison, Tayler’s father. “You want to see kids smile, you want to see your kids grow up, be healthy and happy.”
The campaign not only helped to distract one cancer patient, but two. Faustin was diagnosed with colon cancer at the time and he appreciated seeing the community come together. Since then Ellison has recovered and feels better but his diagnosis went the other direction. Doctors told him last fall that he has less than a year to live.
“Helped me feel not as quite as alone,” Faustin said. “To see that outpouring of support for them did me a lot of good, it really touched on my heart.”
His concern in the months ahead is not for himself but his wife and two young children, a 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. The fundraiser organized by Aurora Police Department members hopes to not only support the Faustins but other families in the department who may face this same battle in the future.
“The legacy of what people are doing for us lives far beyond how long I’m going to be around,” he said. “My kids are going to learn a lesson about what it means to help people and to support people and to love people.”
Faustin hopes that the public knows his gratitude and that their generosity will live on not only in his family but the others in the department who will benefit from this fundraiser in the future.
“Thank you seems like an empty thing to say,” he said. “You’re helping so many other people.”
Ellison told CBS4 along with her father and Faustin on Thursday that she is still going into checkups and has some pain but feels better. Her father explained she is health but still needs some reconstruction surgeries. He is proud of his honor roll student taking advanced classes in high school.
“Well, I know when I was going through stuff, lots of people were supporting me and it really helped me get through my stuff,” she said.
Her father says it is therapeutic for the family to now support the Faustins after they received so much from the community two years ago. He also hopes it helps to show the public there is more to police officers than their uniform.
“I’d like to take the badge off, we are human underneath,” Ellison said. “To humanize the badge if you will, how much we do go through.”
As family, the Ellisons know firsthand that cancer can bring down a patient and their loved ones. It can be isolating and leave some hopeless. Staff with the Aurora Police Department hope their fundraiser changes that. There is a raffle drawing scheduled for Monday, March 9. Businesses looking to get involved can contact Investigator Myshell Bolton: firstname.lastname@example.org. She is collecting donations to include in the raffle.
“It helped me realize that I’m not alone and there are people out there who are supporting me,” Ellison said.