SYRACUSE -- Police officers and firefighters banded together to raise money for a 15-year-old girl who has bone cancer.
On Tuesday, representatives from the two agencies presented Maddie Cook and her parents, Kevin and Sue Cook, with a check for $11,389 -- almost triple what has been raised in the past, said Police Chief Brian Wallace.
"I don't remember us raising anything near this amount," Wallace said.
He said proceeds from previous Guns-n-Hoses events have also gone to families with children who had some form of cancer.
"I was shocked," said Sue Cook, after she saw the check.
But what was more overwhelming to the Cooks was the number of people who showed up Nov. 11 at Syracuse High School for the basketball game between the two agencies.
"We've lived our whole lives in Syracuse, and to walk into that gym and see people I haven't seen in years, there are no words to describe it," Kevin Cook said of the packed gym.
The Saturday before the game, Kevin Cook's mother, Beulah Thurgood Cook, passed away, so their emotions were already tender before they entered the gym, they said.
Maddie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, on Feb. 11. A tumor was found on her left femur just above the knee after doctors did an MRI to see why she limped.
Maddie has undergone 18 chemotherapy treatments, which caused hair loss, mouth sores, blisters and weight loss. It has also weakened her immune system, which has kept her from going to school and hanging out with most of her friends.
She has spent more than 100 days at Primary Children's Medical Center, and Sue Cook, who works at Horizon Credit Union, and Kevin Cook, who works at R.C. Willey, have juggled their work schedules so someone is always with her.
Six inches of Maddie's femur, her knee and 3 inches of her tibia have been replaced. She uses a wheelchair for mobility and can walk only short distances.
Friends of the Cooks wanted to find some way to help the family, and one neighbor, Shelly Dietrich, approached Wallace several months ago.
"She just took the bull by the horns and got everything organized," Wallace said.
He said the game was fun, even though he believes the firefighters brought in outside talent.
Fire Chief Craig Cottrell said he was unable to attend the game, but is confident no ringers were recruited to play on the firefighter team.
"It's just friendly competition for a good cause," Cottrell said.
Both men said several factors came into play in bringing more money to this event than has been contributed in the past.
One was the ability to use credit cards and debit cards. In the past, organizers could accept only checks and cash for concessions, the auction and raffle.
The other was the community rallying to get donations for the event, they said.
Police Sgt. Philip Rogich said his daughter, Chloe, got into the act. She and Maddie have known each other for several years.
"(Chloe) made it her personal quest to get out as many people as she could," Rogich said.
Maddie, who is shy, said she did not like being in the spotlight at the game but appreciated the gifts, including an autographed Jimmer Fredette BYU No. 32 jersey.
As to who won the game, technically it ended in a tie, Rogich said.
With the firefighters behind by two points, Maddie put the basketball in the hoop with a little help and then gave the points to the firefighters.
"I like the color red," Maddie said.