In August 2017, two members of the Queensland Police Service, Sergeants Lesley Phinn and Sue Newton, with approval from Cancer Council Queensland, marketed a Breast Cancer Challenge Coin, Queensland Police say.
The coin was designed by Senior Constable Richard Power.
A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion bearing an organisation’s insignia and is traditionally exchanged with other police officers from different jurisdictions, whether this is state, federal or overseas.
One of the driving forces behind the challenge coin for breast cancer was due to Sergeant Lesley Phinn being diagnosed herself.
“In 2015, I was diagnosed and began treatment for breast cancer; I had numerous surgeries, chemo therapy, radiation and drug therapies for over 12 months,” she said.
“Being a single mother of two children, the support I received from my friends and work colleagues made things easier.
“With the support of senior management, I was able to work around my chemo and daily radiation. Which allowed the flexibility to still maintain my policing role but the space and support to get better.”
Unfortunately, being a service of over 15,000 officers and staff, the prevalence of QPS members either directly or indirectly affected by breast cancer is vast.
The coins have provided great opportunities for discussion and action around the importance of regular screening for breast and other types of cancer amongst colleagues and families.
Through open discussions many officers and staff members have spoken about their own past or current experiences with cancer, allowing a larger support network to flourish.
With the support of Assistant Commissioner Clem O’Regan, Assistant Commissioner Sharon Cowden and funding from the Commissioned Officer Union the coins were sold throughout the state.
To date over 800 coins have been sold, raising $11,083.62 for Cancer Council Queensland.
On Thursday, November 22, Sergeants Phinn and Newton along with Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford and Assistant Commissioner Cowden presented the cheque to Cancer Council Queensland’s CEO Ms Chris McMillan.
Deputy Commissioner Linford said she was proud of both Sergeants Phinn and Newton for their dedication to bring Breast Cancer detection awareness to light within the service.
“This initiative has opened many discussions for colleagues and has provided a wider support network for people directly or indirectly affected by all types of cancer,” Deputy Commissioner Linford said.
“The money raised will assist in supporting those affected by cancer as well as allow for greater research into treatments and hopefully one day a cure.”
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan thanked Queensland Police Service, and in particular Sergeants Lesley Phinn and Sue Newton for their support.
“It’s wonderful to see the community coming up with innovative ways to fundraise for our cause,” Ms McMillan said.
“With the funds raised from this initiative, we can continue to fund lifesaving cancer research, prevention programs and support services for the 27,000 Queenslanders diagnosed with cancer each year.
“Thanks to organisations like Queensland Police Service, we can be there for all Queenslanders affected by cancer every minute, every hour, every day.”