"Even though we allowed [men] to be on the team, we wanted them to be more included by making a shirt," Old Tappan Police Officer Katie Weaver said.
After founding the group in 2011, Weaver and Washington Township Police Officer Heather Castronova enlisted Officers Shane Broglia of Ridgewood, Rachel Morgan and Christine Udis of Paramus and Christina Rae of Edgewater. They hooked more colleagues from throughout Bergen -- including Englewood, Hackensack, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Westwood and Woodcliff Lake -- along with retirees.
Some have faced issues of their own, as have their mothers, aunts or grandmothers.
A diagnosis of Stage I cervical cancer last year made Weaver “thankful for the love and support from my fellow ladies in blue and my community.
"Cancer is out there, and it’s not going away. We need to find a cure, and money is the best way we can help.”
Ladies in Blue raised more than $270,000 through last year's Bergen leg of Making Strides.
“Our goal is the same every year: to grow,” Weaver said.
The funds raised go toward “finding cures and promising new treatments through funding and conducting research,” and into lobbying lawmakers "to help all women get access to screenings and care,” she said.
It also gives uninsured women better access to mammograms, provides free rides for treatments to cancer patients, and funds more intensive research.
Weaver hopes her group's commitment will also change people’s perceptions.
“Police officers are seen in a negative light," she said. "We want people to realize we’re here to help. We’re not bad people — we’re here to do a job.
"I want my community to be the best it could possibly be.”
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