URI family receives police support for infant born with rare cancer

Posted on
Cops For Kids donate $5,000 to aid Dan and Angela Graney’s daughter

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 17, 2014 – A group of community members and police officers were held captive in the lobby of the URI Police Department headquarters today by a special little bundle. The bundle was the nearly five-month old baby, Violet Graney, who was born with and is fighting a rare cancer.


Dressed for the occasion in her favorite color, Violet smiled for all at the event where her parents, URI staff members Dan and Angela Graney, were receiving support from the Cops for Kids With Cancer foundation from Braintree, Mass.


Robert Faherty who chairs the foundation was very happy to see Violet and to present her parents with a check for $5,000 to help with medical expenses. Faherty spent 40 years with the Boston Police Department before retiring as superintendent-in-chief and takes great pride in providing some relief to families with sick children.


“Cops for Kids with Cancer has helped more than 330 families since we began in 2008, and presenting the donations is always rewarding,” Faherty said. “Hopefully, this will help Dan and Angela carry on and help them focus on Violet in the face of overwhelming medical bills.”


“We are so very thankful and grateful,” said Angela Graney, assistant director of the University’s International Engineering Program Living and Learning Community. “I’m a real planner, I say that I plan for a lot of things, but not this. We had no idea. So my plan to take 12 weeks of maternity leave and then to go back to work vanished. Of course, being out of work has been hard on us financially, so this grant is amazing.”


Dan Graney, assistant director of Student Life for Substance Abuse and Prevention Services at URI learned about the Cops for Kids with Cancer foundation through Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where Violet has been receiving treatment. He knew URI Police Lt. Michael Donohue very well through their collaborative work and asked him to sponsor Violet’s application. Donohue didn’t hesitate.


As the sponsor, Donohue wrote letters, filled out paperwork and submitted the request on Violet’s behalf.


“I’m thrilled. I’m so happy for the family because they’re spending so much money to make their daughter well and every little bit helps,” Donohue said.


“The amount of support we’ve gotten from everywhere, but especially from Mike to take the time to do this, has been unbelievable,” said Dan Graney. “We are very thankful to all for the help at this difficult time in our lives.”


Violet was born on Sunday, May 25. She was delivered via Caesarean section after doctors determined she had a mass the size of a football on her forearm. She has infantile fibrosarcoma, a cancerous soft-tissue tumor that occurs at a rate of 5 infants per million, according to the National Cancer Institute. Graney said Violet’s doctors were unable to find records of any newborns that survived a rupture of the tumor in utero.


Violet suffered extensive internal damage from the in utero bleeding, underwent four full blood transfusions in her first 24 hours and didn’t open her eyes for two weeks. But, Graney said, with the help of doctors at Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s Tomorrow Fund Clinic, Violet is recovering. After six rounds of chemotherapy, the mass is now the size of a tennis ball and surgery to remove the tumor is scheduled for October 29.


The Graney’s have two other children, Harrison, age 7, and Paige, age 5, who have been well-informed and aware of the condition of their new little sister. “It’s not unusual for Harrison to start up the day asking something like ‘What’s Violet’s blood platelet level like today?’,” Dan Graney said with a smile.


“It’s so hard because sometimes I think, ‘I can’t win $2 on a Powerball ticket,’ but here we have this living, breathing miracle. Some days are good and you are just so thankful, while other days are difficult and you think, ‘Why is this happening to us!”


“Before she was born, I don’t think we really knew what the word miracle really meant. Now we truly understand what a miracle is,” Angela Graney said.


Pictured above

GREAT SUPPORT: URI Police Lt. Michael Donohue, Dan Graney, assistant director of Student Life for Substance Abuse and Prevention Services and his wife, Angela, assistant director of the University’s International Engineering Program Living and Learning Community, hold Violet and pose as Robert Faherty retired superintendent-in-chief of Boston Police Department and now chairman of Cops for Kids with Cancer foundation hands the family a $5,000 gift for support.

Photo by Nora Lewis