PETERSBURG, Va. -- Petersburg Police Officer Leslie Deluca has spent years helping solve people’s problems, but she now faces something a police officer can't fix – cancer.
"I became a police officer 27 years ago,” said Officer Deluca. "A lot of people will work somewhere as a job. This is a profession".
Captain Chris Walker describes Officer Deluca as one of the best.
"She's a hard worker and she's dedicated,” said the captain.
Dedicated to a profession for Officer Deluca may be an understatement.
"To become a police officer, you're literally sacrificing your whole life to helping others,” she said. "We are very busy, it goes from the simplest calls to the most critical calls in a matter of minutes."
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native has spent more than a decade in the Commonwealth and nearly that long on the streets of Petersburg.
"This is my home, my home away from home,” said Officer Deluca.
Her choice of assignments, she says, is to stay on patrol.
"You want to help others, you know, solve issues, solve problems," she explained.
But now Officer Deluca is facing a different kind of problem.
It’s a problem a police officer can't solve.
"After seeing the Doctor, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in April," said Officer Deluca. "It was Stage 3 and through multiple tests it was discovered Stage 4 and went into my hip bone.”
It was news that devastated the veteran police officer.
"I tell you what, when he told me, it hit me hard,” she added.
While patrolling the streets of Petersburg on 12 hour shifts, Officer Deluca is also waiting to hear what treatment regimen she will undergo.
"I'm gonna fight, that's just me, I’m gonna fight. Very emotional for me, but I'm going to fight,” said Officer Deluca.
Wearing a badge put's a police officer's life at risk. Officer Deluca is now in a second at risk group with her health and COVID-19, but she isn't willing to come off patrolling the streets.
"Imagine somebody who desperately needs help. What good am I sitting in an office when I could be out here, still going, I'm still healthy, I'm still going forward,” she said.
While she dons a mask and gloves for added protection at work, the diagnosis isn't slowing her down.
"Just because I'm dealing with something that's almost impossible, doesn't mean I stop living,” said Deluca.
She says there's something cathartic about being out patrolling the streets.
"It does a lot for me to be out here, it keeps you going,” she said.
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