A community is rallying to support a Los Angeles police officer with a rare form of cancer by raising money for his medical expenses, efforts that included a barbecue fundraiser on Thursday.
James Rousseve, a 39-year-old LAPD Southwest Division police officer, was diagnosed with a rare soft tissue sarcoma cancer in November 2014. He finished his 14th and final round of chemotherapy on July 31, according to his wife Leticia Rousseve.
"He is doing well, a lot better than expected," Leticia Rousseve said. Doctors had planned eight to 14 rounds of chemotherapy for his treatment, but didn't expect him to finish all 14, she added.
Top news of the day
The couple hesitantly created a GoFundMe to help with their medical expenses, after supporters who couldn't make it to a barbecue fundraiser in May asked how they could contribute, Leticia Rousseve said.
"Due to the intensity of the treatment, he has been unable to work and faces an additional six-month recovery from the surgery alone," Leticia Rousseve wrote on the GoFundMe page. "As his caretaker, I have also taken sick leave as we fight this battle together."
She has continued working as a police officer when she can, but said her supervisors have been understanding and have let her leave when she needs to take her husband to appointments for treatment.
The GoFundMe has received $17,050 in donations as of Wednesday around noon, three months after the page was created. The original goal for the page was $15,000.
A "Rousseve Family Fundraiser BBQ" was held at the LAPD Pacific Community Station on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., to assist with the funding for James Rousseve's upcoming surgery in Texas.
He and his wife will travel to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, where he will undergo surgery later this month. Leticia Rousseve said they chose the center in Texas because it has a specialized sarcoma program.
The couple plans to attend the fundraiser as long as "James feels up to it," Leticia Rousseve wrote on the GoFundMe page. "Again, thank you all for your continued support and prayers, we truly appreciate each and every one of them and each and everyone of you."
She said that they are optimistic overall, but added that they have to keep in mind that this type of cancer is aggressive, and often comes back.
For more information about the event, call Sergeant Orozco at 310-482-6478, or Officer Rousseve at 310-482-6480.