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Now a group of Asian businessmen are throwing their support behind the officer from the 109th Precinct by holding a fund-raising dinner Friday to generate some money for Brophy's family.
A 35-year-old patrolman known by his colleagues as a good friend and healthy eater, Brophy was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in late November and is undergoing aggressive chemotherapy to battle the disease. The cancer has already spread to his other organs.
"He's a fighter so that's our only hope," Commanding Officer of the 109th Precinct, Thomas Cea, told a news conference Monday. "This is a very, very strong, very supportive community."
A group of Asian businessmen from the civic group Destination Flushing sat alongside Cea to announce a fund-raising dinner they are holding Friday to help support the 12-year veteran's family in light of his mounting bills from Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in Manhattan.
"It's what you call astronomical," Cea said of the rising costs of his chemotherapy treatments.
There is no charge to attend the benefit, said Peter Tu, of Destination Flushing, but donations are welcome.
He is encouraging residents to come out and demonstrate their solidarity for the family, who will also be attending the dinner party.
"What can we do for that gentleman to show some love, give some health?" Tu asked.
His partner, Timothy Chuang, said he learned that money is well- spent when it is used charitably.
"He wants to fight this cancer," he said. "He wants to live."
None of the Asian businessmen who came out to offer details about the fund-raiser actually knew Brophy.
"We just heard the news," Chuang said.
The dinner Friday, which will be held at Maxin Coffee, 135-24 40th Rd. in Flushing, at 6 p.m. is the first fund-raiser Destination Flushing has hosted.
Cea said Brophy's family, which consists of his wife and 1-year-old son, is coming from Long Island for the event.
"His wife, I don't think she's slept in weeks," Cea said. "Guys visit him during the week and he's really down. Some days he sounds very optimistic. Some days he's got a big fight."
One of his supervisors, Sgt. Henry Sung, said Brophy was known around the precinct for eating protein bars and steamed broccoli and lifting weights.
"He was always lively," Sung said.
Brophy worked the 4 p.m. to midnight shift and was a community patrol police officer, which is why Sung believes the local merchants came together for him.
"He was a subordinate so he was always respectful of his supervisors," Sung said. "But he was also a good friend."
Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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