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Lee’s Summit police officer transitions from fighting crime to fighting cancer

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A Lee's Summit Police Officer is fighting his toughest bad guy yet: melanoma.

Officer Shawn Rath was diagnosed with melanoma in 2015, after finding a small bump on his ear. He was declared cancer free after surgery to remove the melanoma, but after 6 months, the cancer came raging back inside of his body. Now, the cancer is invading Rath's central nervous system, brain and spine.

The Lee's Summit police officer has spent the majority of his cancer battle working while getting treatments. In December, the pain became too much and he had to step away from work. The transition from fighting crime to fighting cancer full-time has been a difficult transition for the 44-year-old who has spent his entire career in law enforcement.

"Always taking care of somebody else. They need help, I want to be there," said Rath. "To receive the help in our home for my son, for my wife, for myself, it is very humbling and it is very hard."

The community and his Brother's in Blue have been a great support during Rath's battle, but he fights mostly for his wife Kari and 8-year-old son Patrick.

"I know that I will get better. A lot of people tell me that I am strong, I guess I don't see that all the time but I just keep plugging forward," said Rath. "People ask me, 'how are you doing?' My go-to phrase is, 'I'm just trucking. I am trucking forward, and soon enough I will be better.'"

Rath's wife Kari says her husband's cancer was caused by the sun. She hopes Rath's story can be a warning for others to wear sunscreen and have annual body checks.

"He is the one that is fighting more than anybody else could fight," Kari said. "A lot of it is that internal strength to keep going, because it is easy to give up."

There will be a fundraiser for Rath and his family Saturday, July 8 at the Fun House Pizza 405 NW Blue Parkway. The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The following information about the event is from the Lee's Summit Police Department.

"Need an excuse to get out this Saturday and have some pizza? Join us at Fun House Pizza in Lee's Summit, 405 NW Blue Parkway, this Saturday, July 8th from 10am-1pm for a fund raiser for one of our own. Emergency vehicles and equipment will be on display as well as a Jeep show, a dunk tank and lots of great raffle and auction items.  If you are unable to make it to the event, you can drop off donations here at the Police Department. We are always humbled and amazed at the support that this community gives it's first responders; you have always stepped up in the past and we are sure that you will do the same for this great family! Hope to see all of you on Saturday!  For more information or if you have a jeep you'd like to register you can find the event at Shave It for Shawn and Jeep Show on facebook, on Fun House Pizza's facebook page, or send us a message here and we will get you in touch with the right people."