NYPD holds Beauty Against Cancer event for survivors

LOWER MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- The concept of community policing was on full and different display in New York City Tuesday, as the NYPD hosted an event called Beauty Against Cancer that offered lifestyle and health tips for first responders and community members affected by cancer.

There was music, prayer and camaraderie at NYPD Headquarters, at the first-of-its kind event.

"Since 9/11, our NYPD family has been struck with more than 500 cases of cancer related to 9/11 rescue, recovery, and evidence collection efforts," NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said. "Resulting in, unbelievably, nearly 200 deaths."

The event was open to employees of the NYPD and its various divisions, but members of the public -- particularly residents of public housing -- were also Invited.

"It turned into who you work with often, who you speak with often, Mary that you see every day, you're invited," said event organizer Lieutenant Joshua Mendez, of the NYPD Housing Bureau. "Do you know someone who is suffering from this affliction? Would they like to be invited to this event."

Those in attendance received tips on health, fashion and beauty.

"When I heard about the event, I immediately thought of my mom," said Tamiko Smith, of Transit District 32. "And I thought about her having a day of glam, considering that she's been a 16-year survivor."

"Your self-esteem is very low as it is, so this kind of event lifts your spirits, so to speak," cancer survivor Patricia Smith said.

And there were those who donated their locks, doing their part to show their love.

"I feel so blessed I'm able to have beautiful hair," an NYPD member named Carrie said. "And that's what we need to do, be able to share what we have."

Lieutenant Quathisha Epps is an ovarian and brain cancer survivor, and she says the event make her feel supported.

"This is amazing to leave here today just knowing that my beauty is undeniable and that my strength is inspiring," she said.

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