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Sarpy and Cass county Relay for Life has a different meaning for retired Bellevue officer

Sarpy and Cass county Relay for Life has a different meaning for retired Bellevue officer
Posted at 10:07 PM, Jun 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-08 23:09:59-04

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — Cancer survivors and their caregivers came together for the annual Relay for Life of Sarpy & Cass Counties at City Park in Papillion Saturday evening.

Hundreds gathered in the park to remember loved ones. This isn't the first time Fran Gallo has walked the park to remember his family.

"I have a lot of cancer in my family, so it means something to me," he said.

For Gallo, a long-time officer in the metro area, this year is different.

"I helped take care of my sister, father, and grandfather," he said. "Now I've been diagnosed with cancer myself."

Gallo served at the La Vista Police Department just over three years. He then worked at the Bellevue Police Department in various roles including road patrol, tactical team, bike patrol and investigations for two decades. He retired in 2015. Gallo found out he was sick last year.

"It's odd, I don't feel any different," he said. "I got sick on vacation in September when I was in Florida, went to the hospital and there was a severe prostate infection."

It's been about a month since Gallo was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Events like the Relay for Life allow patients, survivors and caregivers to share stories.

"It helps getting to meet with other survivors and learn their stories and see what they did," Gallo said. "With my family history, I did expect to have cancer at some point, but I didn't think it was going to be this soon."

As he and his family walk the traditional survivor lap at city park, the American Cancer Society has already raised $15,000 across the community leading up to Saturday. It's a good sign of things to come for people like Gallo who will continue to meet with doctors.

"This is how we get the information to realize that genetic testing is now an important part of the process," Gallo said. "I feel fine, I just have to stay on top of it and not ignore it."

The American Cancer Society says funds raised throughout the week will go toward fighting all forms of cancer. Organizers say they expect to raise $35,000 from this year's event."