Amy Davey of Sex Crimes has always described her mother, Judy, as her favourite person. “Bubbly, outgoing and busy,” is how people in Amy’s hometown of Battersea, Ontario, see the grandmother of seven.
So, when Judy and her husband celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last March, it was no surprise that they had 250 guests to celebrate with them. “My mom is a big hugger,” says Amy. “At her wedding anniversary, it was almost as if she got hugged too much and she was sore right after.” The pain led Judy to the hospital and, two months later, she was diagnosed with cancer.
This wasn’t Judy’s first brush with cancer. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and had beat the disease till now. This time around, the news wasn’t good. Judy’s last brush with cancer has led to bone metastasis and the cancer has spread to her torso, spine, ribs and skull. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer in May 2014.
Recently, a mentor of Davey’s was also diagnosed with terminal cancer, Detective Gord McNeily, of 12 Division, who Davey describes as one of her favourite people other than her mother. “It all came to a head with my mother and Gord,” says Davey, who decided to participate in Cops for Cancer and help raise money for an eventual cure.
Davey has decided to shave her hair, all 22 inches of it, on April 18 at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Not one to back down from a challenge, the detective constable decided to see if she could beat the highest individual record of donations by an officer of $6,600, as well as that by a Cancer Society team member of $11,500.
And she did. She is now the highest individual fundraiser for Cops for Cancer at $13,900 and counting.
“Every single person has been touched by cancer. It is just that one thing that everyone has been touched by and I think that, if I have this opportunity to something, then I should do that,” says Davey.
She compares the act of shaving her head to how she sees her work at Child Exploitation. “Just like my job – not everyone can do it and not everyone can shave their head and feel comfortable but, if I can, I should be doing that to help others and raise as much as I can for cancer research.”
Davey hopes her fundraising efforts will help lead to a cure for cancer in some way. “Ultimately, what an amazing thing it would be to see a cure in our lifetime for cancer.”
The fact that she has raised almost $14,000, with donations from colleagues, friends and friends of her parents, has changed Davey. “This has opened my eyes.… I was so touched by people’s generosity that I think in the future my level of generosity and empathy will increase.” Davey says her family is touched by how a simple donation can make them feel. “My dad calls daily to talk about the total and you know lots of times he is in tears over it.”
For now, Davey’s family is looking forward to just spending time with Judy who, despite the cancer, is just as active as she was before. From her volunteer work with Alzheimer’s patients, to food drives at the Battersea United Church, Judy is as outgoing as ever. Perhaps that is why her children gifted her with a licence plate that reads ‘hummingbird’ for her 60th birthday.
“Her spirit animal is a hummingbird because she is constantly going,” says Davey, laughing.
Being the youngest of four siblings, Davey’s own children – two-and-a-half-year-old twin boys – are also Judy’s youngest grandchildren. Davey says all Judy wants now is to live long enough so that the twins will remember her.