Federal Way cop fighting breast cancer without sick leave

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 18, 2011 at 10:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 11 at 9:33 AM

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Stacy Eckert has spent the last two months at home taking care of her kids and herself after getting a mastectomy. She learned she had breast cancer on duty as a Federal Way Police officer.

"I just received a phone call, and fell apart, and had to go home that day," said Eckert.

While Eckert recovered from two surgeries, she received dozens of cards from her coworkers, many who offered to donate their sick time to her.

"I thought it was incredible," she said. "It made me feel part of the brotherhood, of why people are in policework."

Perhaps it was payback for what she gives to the community. She's a school resource officer at Decatur High School, and is known for her work with the Special Olympics.

She was shocked to learn the City of Federal Way would only allow her coworkers to match the sick time she had accrued -- four days, enough to cover a small fraction of the two months she's been out of work.

She asked the city to consider making an exception, but was denied. She later learned exceptions had been granted to other workers in the past.

"It made me feel sad," said Eckert. "I felt like I wasn't a valued employee. And having breast cancer, if that wasn't an exception to the policy, what would be?"

A spokesperson for the city of Federal Way didn't answer repeated phone calls or emails for comment.

Eckert emphasized she's not destitute. They still have income from her husband's job. She also points out that many women fighting breast cancer are far worse off than she is.

While the city's decision is disappointing to Eckert, she still appreciates the generosity of her coworkers. They are selling pink bracelets with her name on it, and throwing her a fundraiser in May.

"It makes me feel great," she said.

For more information on how to help Officer Stacy Eckert, go to http://fwpog.com/

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