5K raises thousands for local officer battling cancer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

5K raises thousands for local officer battling cancer

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Hundreds of people came together Thursday night to help a local reserve police officer battling cancer.  Cedar Falls Reserve Officer Scott Sterrett was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer just a few months ago.

When Sterrett's fellow officers heard about the diagnoses, they organized a 5K benefit to help pay for travel expenses to and from the doctor.  The turnout was an unexpected outpouring of support.  On Thursday, more than 500 people hit the pavement in honor of the local hero and avid marathon runner.

One friend and firefighter running the 3.1 miles in full gear.

"We put this gear on to save lives, just like he puts his vest on, and he puts his gun on to go out and help his community. This is another form of rescue for us. We are going in to bring a brother out," said New Hartford volunteer firefighter, Steve Burrell.

After more than a decade battling crime, Officer Sterrett is facing his hardest battle yet. But if the 5K proved anything, it's that Sterrett isn't alone.

"It helps a lot. Through the tough days, it is always nice to have people there to help support you, people calling and texting. It is really nice," said Officer Sterrett.

"Are you overwhelmed to see the turnout?" asked KWWL.

"I am! I knew I had quite a few friends, but not this many!" said Sterrett.

The support is something fellow officer, John Zolondek, who spear-headed the 5k, can relate to. Zolondek is a survivor of thyroid cancer, and several years ago it was him the community was rallying around.

"You go through the steps and trust the doctors; trust everybody around you. All the support feeds and makes you stronger. It is just appreciated," said Zolondek.

The event bringing things full circle for Zolondek and others like Trekman owner, Dave Lipinski, who donated his time and equipment to put on the race.

"My very first race when I started Trekman racing, Scott's dad was one of my very first sponsors when he owned the hardware store [in Hudson]. When I saw him today, we shook hands and said it has been 17 years," said Lipinski.

The event raised more than $10,000 for Officer Sterrett and his family.  The Cedar Falls American Legion, AM-VETS, and VFW also presented Sterrett with a check for $1125.

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