Mass. PD raises money for vacation getaway for families with sick children

In years past, the Marshfield Police Department has raised thousands of dollars through the Cops for Kids with Cancer charity


By Wheeler Cowperthwaite The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

MARSHFIELD, Mass. — Danny Sheehan has a few ideas about how he wants his ideal vacation room to be decorated.

Race cars. Sharks. French fries. Pizza. Strawberries, because that's what he dressed up as one year for Halloween. Somewhere in the room should be a cubby for Doritos so he can get up in the middle of the night for a Cool Ranch flavored snack.

Danny Sheehan, 7, of Marshfield, who is battling cancer, receives a $4k check from the Marshfield Police Relief Association for
Danny Sheehan, 7, of Marshfield, who is battling cancer, receives a $4k check from the Marshfield Police Relief Association for "Tommy's Place", a retreat for families of ill children on Monday November 2, 2020. (Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger)

Danny wants rainbows because he has seen them in person and a music player loaded with a long he loves a lot — " Baby Shark."

Danny will hopefully see his room come next summer at the vacation house in Falmouth run by the charity Tommy's Place, a former inn that is being renovated to become a getaway for sick children and their families.

The cost to sponsor a room, and make it fully his, is $25,000, not including the costs to turn it into something befitting Danny's vision of a proper room, but he did get a little help from his friends in the Marshfield Police Department on Monday. They donated $4,000 as part of their no-shave October. The police made Danny an honorary officer in 2019.

On Sunday, he got a little help from the drive-in at the Marshfield fairgrounds where his pick, "The Goonies," earned the charity $600. Danny only got about half-way through the film before it scared him a little too much.

"It was getting very creepy," he said.

When Danny was 4, doctors diagnosed him with pineoblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer that can spread in the brain and along the spinal cord. Despite his struggles against cancer, he has remained friendly, dancy, talkative. Marshfield Selectman Chris Rohland even read a proclamation to the boy, announcing Nov. 1 through 7 as his week, as he has inspired residents of the town by his brave face and dancing.

Marshfield Lt. Arthur Shaw and Officer Jon Toomey are raising money to reach at least the $25,000 sponsorship goal for Danny's room at the Tommy's Place house by offering a chance to win a one-week stay at a house that sleeps 12 on Martha's Vineyard next September.

In years past, Marshfield police officers have raised money for Cops for Kids with Cancer, a charity that gives $5,000 to families of children with cancer. Last year, they raised almost $100,000, Shaw said. In 2018, they raised $75,000 for the charity.

Tickets for the chance to win a vacation home cost $100 each and are being sold through local restaurants, including Haddad's Ocean Cafe, the Cask 'n Flagon and the Bridgwaye. Tickets are also being sold through Tommy's Place by email, at tommysplacefalmouth@gmail.com. Many local restaurants are also fashioning dishes in Danny's honor.

Shaw said in years past, much of the fundraising has taken place during the raffle itself, usually a big party at a restaurant. With social distancing requirements this year, and the announcement of tightened restrictions on gathering sizes, the main fundraising will have to be done through the raffle instead.

Tommy's Place is the result of efforts by Tim O'Connell, of Quincy, who lent his vacation rental house on Martha's Vineyard to the family of a child battling cancer. That led to the germ of an idea to turn a property into a vacation home for sick children and their families which eventually became Tommy's Place. Each room should feel completely different, like walking into a new world, inspired by the memory of whomever it is named after.

O'Connell said he hopes he can finish renovating the former inn by next summer so Danny has a chance to help decorate it but he is largely at the whims of his donated help. He is also trying to find the funds, or the donation, for an electrician.

(c)2020 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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