PATERSON — City police Sgt. David D’Arco takes special pride in the “No Shave November” fundraiser that his law enforcement colleagues have conducted the past five years for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Being a cancer patient, this is an important cause for myself,” D’Arco said.
Members of the Paterson Police Department gathered on Monday to present hospital representatives with their latest donation, generated by their monthlong commitment to skip shaving. Paterson cops have now raised $33,000 for St. Jude, officials said.
In 2021, D’Arco was diagnosed with ocular melanoma, an extremely rare form of cancer that affects the eyes.
D’Arco said the disease eventually led to the removal of one of his eyes. He now works in the police records division.
“I had to stay out of work for some time due to my surgery and ongoing treatments,” he said. “However, now with just one functioning eye, I still drive, and living with this is almost second nature. I only have challenges with depth perception, for example when someone throws me a basketball.”
The regional managing director for St. Jude, Lizette Dorado, posed for photos with department members while holding a large cardboard facsimile of the check, which represented the amount contributed.
“The holiday brings out the best in people,” Dorado said. “This is one of our busiest times of the year in accepting donations. We have been working with the Paterson department for years.”
The president of the Paterson Police Benevolent Association, Alex Cruz, was on hand for the ceremony. The veteran officer was one of the few male participants who did not grow facial hair.
“I have problems growing hair on my head,” Cruz joked. “If I grew a beard, my head would get jealous.”
Officer Sujeire Bilbao was one of two female police participants who were present for the check presentation.
“Even though I couldn’t grow a beard, I took part in this great effort to help children,” Bilbao said.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Paterson NJ police raise money for St. Jude children's hospital