Inspirational Rock Inspires Police Officer to Give Back for Cancer Care
AUBURN, Calif. – Lt. Michael Garlock of the Auburn Police Department cherishes the inspirational polished rock he chose when he completed his cancer treatment at the Sutter ROC – or Radiation Oncology Center – in Auburn. To show his gratitude, he established a Pink Patch campaign with the proceeds going to purchase more rocks and provide other services for Auburn-area cancer patients.
Lt. Garlock was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2018. While receiving his radiation treatments at the Sutter Medical Foundation Radiation Oncology Center on Bell Road in Auburn, he noticed those that completed their treatments got to choose a polished rock with an inspirational word on it.
“I remember thinking, I can’t wait until I get my rock,” he said. “It gave me hope that I can do this, that I can beat this.”
After 15 treatments, he chose the right rock for him, one that said “Faith.” Now in remission, Lt. Garlock assisted in getting the Auburn Police Department to participate in the Pink Patch Project. The Auburn Police Department officers union donated the funds to purchase patches that have a pink outline, and members of the community purchased them for $5 apiece during the month of October.
The donations were to go toward cancer patients, and Lt. Garlock decided the best use of the funds was to go to the Sutter Auburn ROC because he was struck by the compassion of the staff and the personal care provided at a time when he was feeling most vulnerable.
“The staff here has a genuine sincerity and a genuine caring for everyone to heal,” Lt. Garlock said. “I can’t say enough about this place.”
On Thursday, March 28, Lt. Garlock donated all the proceeds of the monthlong campaign — $365 — to the Sutter ROC in Auburn to purchase more rocks for patients and for other patient needs.
“Seeing these rocks gave me hope,” Lt. Garlock said. “If that’s what gives other patients hope, then I hope this donation buys a lot of rocks.”
The donation was made by Lt. Garlock to radiation oncologist Sharon Dutton, M.D., radiation therapist Carlos DelPozo, Regional Area Director Nancy Mathai, and the rest of the staff at the Sutter Auburn ROC.
“Our patients come from all over this upper I-80 corridor, many of whom don’t have a lot of services to help them get to treatment, so donations like this are really a blessing in their lives,” said Dr. Dutton. “To have a graduate of our oncology program doing so well and giving back, I think that gives people a lot of hope when they come into our center that they’re also going to get through it.”
Lt. Garlock made the donation just days before heading out on a 10-week FBI training in Virginia. After making the donation, he told the staff that he cherishes his Faith rock and that he’ll keep it forever.
“In fact,” he said, “I think I’ll take it with me to Virginia.”
For those who would like to purchase a patch, the Auburn Police Department hopes to make the Pink Patch campaign an annual one, with patch sales starting again in October.