Fundraiser helps veteran FW police officer battling cancer - Dallas News |

Fundraiser helps veteran FW police officer battling cancer

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A Fort Worth police officer saw first hand Sunday afternoon how people are coming together to help in her fight against cancer.

They gathered at Don Carter Bowling Lanes in Fort Worth to raise money for Officer D.D. Willingham.

"Overwhelmed. I feel the love and support," said Willingham.

Officer Willingham was at risk of losing her retirement and benefits because she was no longer able to work and ran out of sick and vacation days.

She took out a 32-thousand dollar loan to pay for the time she's missing leading up to retirement.

"Somebody that dedicated, we should stand behind them and help them all we can and for the city to do this to her is just ridiculous," said fundraiser organizer Sgt. David Wilson.

Willingham, a 25-year veteran of the department, has terminal stage four lung cancer. A city policy says she will be let got since it's is a non work related illness.

Willingham says she was left with no choice but to take out the loan to buy forward her employment to September, which would mark 25 years, securing her retirement and benefits.

Her family says this kind of love and support is helping her stay strong and positive despite her terminal illness.

"Work through it and figure it out and make it through. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel," said Willingham's son, Kenyon Willingham.

Organizers hoped to raise between four to five thousand dollars at Sunday night's event.

Family members say with the other fundraisers and the online efforts they've managed to raise almost $20,000.

"We have to take care of each other. When we are working, you rely on your fellow officers. It carries over into off duty. If one needs help, others step up to help," said Wilson.

A lot of Fort Worth officers are expressing their frustration with the city over the policy.

A spokesperson for the department told us the chief doesn't like this policy and wants it changed.

"It has been a joy and a pleasure and I would do it again. If I can stay here another ten years, I would," said Willingham.

If you would like to support Fort Worth Police Officer D.D. Willingham, donate here:

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