Litchfield Police Lend a Hand to Little Maddie

September 6, 2019

 

by Len Lathrop

Friday afternoon the Litchfield Municipal Complex was alive waiting for a special guest to arrive.  The town’s fire trucks were lining the driveway to town hall, and in front of the police station was the police fleet each with an officer.  On schedule you could hear a Litchfield cruiser before it turned into the driveway followed by an Auburn cruiser and a New Hampshire State Police motorcycle.

A very special visitor, Madison Rifkin, had been transported from Auburn to Litchfield by Sergeant Heath Savage with her parents, Jason and Alyssa, to be honored with a check from Cops for Kids with Cancer.

Maddie, almost 4 years old, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia at the end of January 2019.  After numerous trips to Urgent Care for fevers and pain, she was finally recommended for further testing to diagnose what was going on.  After being initially diagnosed in the emergency department, Maddie was transferred and spent an intense 16 consecutive days in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital – Children’s Hospital where she received incredible care and treatment.  Since that time Maddie has gone through countless procedures, chemotherapy treatments and labs.  While Maddie still has 2.5 years of treatment ahead of her, her bubbly and sweet self was on display with the Litchfield Police and Firefighters on Friday; sitting in the jail cell with her parents she was all smiles.

Miller Thomas of the Board of Directors from Cops for Kids with Cancer was on hand to present the Rifkin family with a check for $5,000.  Thomas, a retired Boston police officer and Litchfield resident, explained that the organization had presented over eight checks this month alone.  Over the years, they have given more than $3.3 million to families with children battling cancer … no strings attached!

The charity began as a golf rivalry between Captain Dow’s Boston Police team and members of Ireland’s Garda Síochána (the “Guards”) led by Detective Pat Hanlon.  That small group determined that the event should raise funds to be donated to a local hospital, specifically to help children with cancer.  Now, more than a decade later, the charity is carrying on their wonderful mission.

Established in 2002, the group today has a 20-plus person board of directors comprised of active and retired police officers, and friends of law enforcement.  All are volunteers, receiving no salaries.  All work very hard to plan events and keep their overhead to a minimum.

Madison has made it through her most intensive phase of treatment and is coming out of precautions.  Her next phase is hopefully the last one before she goes into two years of maintenance with the ultimate result being cancer free.  She is working hard and playing hard (when her body allows), and she was excited to start preschool on Tuesday with her friends.

If you would like to donate to the Rifkin family follow the link:  www.gofundme.com/f/maddie-strong-the-fight-against-leukemia.