Three Critically Ill Children become Cops for a Day

October 11, 2001

"Three Critically Ill Children become Cops for a Day."
Cops for a Day
Sunday, October 14, 2001
10:00 a.m.
Wilshire Community Police Station
4861 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles
Los Angeles: Nathaniel Negrete is 7 years old. At the time of his birth, October 9, 1993, he was clinically dead. The first eleven minutes of his life were spent having doctors work to bring life back to him before rushing him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Nathaniel had a heart defect in addition to respiratory defects and was strep B positive. To date, Nathaniel has been in the operating room twenty-nine times, has a tracheotomy, a gastrostomy tube (for feeding) and numerous scars from open heart surgery. He has struggled his entire life with pneumonia, lung collapses and trachea infections in addition to having a stroke.
Christopher McMillian was like any other 10-year-old boy. Playing basketball, passing notes in class and breezing through math, his favorite subject. Twenty-four hours later, he was fighting to survive an infection called meningococcal disease. An unusual but aggressive disease. In March of this year, surgeons amputated his right arm and both of his legs. Christopher has had many surgeries to reconstruct and remove damaged tissue. In addition to all that Christopher has gone through, his father died of a rare lymphoma.
Diana Ayala has faced some big challenges. She is 13-years old and was diagnosed with cancer last year. As Diana began the battle for her young life, the memory of how lung cancer had ravaged and claimed the life of her mother in December 1996 was still fresh in the minds of her nine member family. "It was pretty scary," Diana said. "I thought I was going to die like my mother, but I pulled through it." Diana still has to undergo surgery to remove any remaining tumor and scar tissue in her back and correct damage caused to her spine. On July 11, 2001 things got worse for Diana when on a return visit to the hospital, it was discovered that the cancer was spreading. Diana has made it known to everyone around her of her strong desire to be a Los Angeles Police Officer. On Sunday, October 14, 2001 at 10:00 a.m., that dream will be made possible.
On Sunday, October 14, 2001 at 10:00 am, Nathaniel, Christopher and Diana’s day will begin in Wilshire Community Police Station’s roll call room, where Los Angeles Deputy Chief of Police David J. Kalish will meet them. There they will be sworn in as official members of LA’s finest. Nathaniel, Christopher and Diana will then partner up to patrol the streets of Los Angeles from the ground in a police vehicle, from the sky with the LAPD Air Support Division, on horseback with the Mounted Patrol and much more. This opportunity was made possible by The Precious Time Foundation. The media is invited to cover this event.
The Precious Time Foundation is the brainchild of LAPD Reserve Officer Steve Bertolino who himself endured two "bouts" with cancer. For further information regarding this event, please contact Reserve Officer Steve Bertolino 310-837-3579 or 310-384-3132
This media advisory was prepared by Public Information Officer Victoria Diaz, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586