Inspiration lives on in cancer awareness fundraiser
URBANA – There may be a little salty taste to the coffee sold at the fourth annual "Cops of Coffee" fundraiser for the Mills Breast Cancer Institute this year.
That's because Sue Voges, the Illinois state trooper and cancer patient who inspired her colleagues to action, won't be present this year when the coffee is poured into the bright fuschia mugs.
"It's going to be very, very difficult," said Ed Ogle, a lieutenant at the Champaign County sheriff's office who has been one of the main organizers of the event and was a close friend of the 53-year-old Ogden woman.
Voges died on Feb. 22 after an 11-year all-out fight with breast cancer. Although she suffered quietly, Voges was willing to share her experience with breast cancer as a way of bringing attention to the need for research.
"If we didn't do it she'd be the first to kick us in the butt and tell us to get out there and get it going," Ogle said.
Voges' husband, Tim Voges, a captain at the sheriff's office, Ogle, and several others came up with the Cops of Coffee event in conjunction with a golf outing as a way to raise money for the Mills Breast Cancer Institute.
So far, they've made about $130,000 for it.
"Our donations are going to the infusion/chemo area that has been named in Sue's honor," Ogle said. "What we're also going to try to do is put more donations toward nursing education in the Breast Cancer Institute."
Ogle said each of the previous three Cops of Coffee events has raised about $15,000 to $20,000. Voges was at all three of them, even when she wasn't feeling well.
"She has inspired a lot of people. If you watched her go through all these trials prior to succumbing to this, it's just amazing what she did and how she lived. When you put that to your own personal life, it makes it that much more important that we cherish every day. We have to continue this breast cancer awareness," Ogle said.
This year's coffee event is 6 to 10 a.m. Friday.
For a $5 donation, a uniformed police officer will sell you a mug to fill with coffee, soda or tea at any of 16 area businesses in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Savoy and Mahomet. That will also buy you a chance for a $1,400 grill from Engelebrecht Cookers in Ford County and a 65-inch Mitsubishi high definition television with 3-D capabilities. The prizes will be drawn at the golf outing on Aug. 6 at the Urbana Country Club. Although the golf outing spots are about filled, Ogle said they're still looking for hole sponsors.
Besides the coffee event and the golf outing, Ogle said there is a Facebook page called "Support the Mills Breast Cancer Institute" through which folks can make donations.
The locations for coffee sales this year:
Dunkin Donuts, 515 S. Neil St.; McDonald's, 1812 N. Neil St.; McDonald's, 1605 S. Neil St.; Super Pantry, 1601 W. Springfield Ave.; Super Pantry, 1302 N. Prospect Ave.; Super Pantry, Springfield Avenue and Staley Road; Super Pantry, Green and First streets.
Super Pantry, 602 E. Oak; Super Pantry, 506 S. Prairieview Road.
P.M.R. BP, 109 S. Maplewood Drive.
Super Pantry, 407 N. Dunlap Ave.
Carle Foundation Hospital Breezeway; Health Alliance/Lincoln Square (7:30 to 10 a.m); Dunkin Donuts, 404 W. University Ave.; Super Pantry, 507 W. University Ave.; McDonalds, 601 N. Cunningham Ave.