A rookie police officer, facing a life-changing diagnosis, learned officers across North Texas are working to support him in his cancer fight.
The Dallas Police Hockey Foundation has raised thousands over the years for families of the officers killed in the 2016 ambush. Earlier this year, the team played a benefit game for a Dallas police sergeant battling cancer.
Now, the team is working to support a Garland officer who has leukemia.
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"I would thank them with all my heart and everything that I have inside of me because they are part of this family that I never knew that I had," Garland police officer Jordan Cruz said.
Cruz, a former Marine, moved to Garland a year and a half ago to join the police department. With no family in North Texas, he initially didn't know if he'd have to face his diagnosis alone.
"There were a few moments where I was feeling alone," Cruz said.
But the feeling didn't last long. He told his fellow officers about his diagnosis and one of them reached out to the Dallas Police Hockey Foundation about ways the team could help.
"I made a call and they just took off running with it," said Ryan Jones, an officer at the Garland Police Department.
Jones recently joined the DPD Hockey Foundation and said it took less than a day for the team to commit to a benefit hockey game on Oct. 19 and begin fundraising to help cover Cruz's time off work for treatment.
"If we can do anything to help relieve some of that stress and worry for him, that's my main goal," Jones said.
"He's served his country in the Marine Corps, he left the Marine Corps and he comes to Garland and now he's serving the community," Jones said. "All he's done is help people his whole life and it gives us an opportunity to help him."
For now, Jones is taking time off to focus on his treatment. He said doctors tell him his prognosis is good and are recommending oral chemotherapy treatment.
"When I'm done with this, I will return and will continue to do what I came here to do, which is to serve and protect and help the community of Garland and serve my state of Texas," Cruz said. "As cliché as that may sound, but that's the truth."
The benefit game for Cruz is Oct. 19 at 7:15 p.m. at the Valley Ranch StarCenter at 211 Cowboys Parkway in Irving.