Benfit for deputy fighting breast cancer draws hundreds to Spring
Standing in Bareback Bar & Icehouse, surrounded by fellow first responders, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman reflected on Deputy Brittney Buchkar’s service as a law enforcement officer.
“She is one of the great female leaders in our department,” Herman said. “She’s a veteran with us. She’s been with us for quite some time. Not only the female officers I have, but the male deputies, they all look up to her for guidance. She’s a really great human being, a good person and we’re all here to support her.”
Buchkar has been fighting breast cancer since her diagnosis in November 2018, but she hasn’t let it slow her down. Even through treatment, she has continued keeping the citizens of west Harris County safe as a patrol deputy, all the while making time to spend with her 10-year-old daughter.
Family, friends, colleagues and even strangers gathered March 3 at Bareback Bar in Spring to help raise funds for Buchkar’s battle against breast cancer.
“I never would have expected this many people,” Buchkar said. “People I haven’t even met saying, ‘We’ll be there, we want to support you.’ It’s amazing. It feels really good to know that I’m not fighting alone.”
Chaplain Pat Pechacek is with the Emergency Chaplain Group. Among the agencies served by the group is the Harris County Pct. 4 Constable’s Office. Pechacek met Buchkar for the first time at the benefit, but had heard her story wanted to show his support.
“This is quite a journey for her — being a single mom and then facing this,” Pechacek said. “We want to come alongside her and support her in her situation and what she’s having to face.”
Buchkar recently finished treatments of Adriamycin, a chemotherapy drug, and started Taxol, another chemo medication, at the end of February. After 11 weeks of Taxol, Buchkar will have surgery, which she expects will take four to six weeks of recovery time — time she’ll have to take off from work.
“Brittney’s going through a lot with her health and we in law enforcement are a very close, tight-knit family,” Herman said. “It’s important that we get out and support her during these times. …They say that you won’t get rich being a police officer (and) that’s true. We don’t make the best money, so a lot of these folks — Brittney included — work extra employment and she will not be able to do that once she gets to a certain point in this process.”
After surgery, she will undergo radiation and then more chemotherapy.
The funds raised from the benefit will help offset medical costs and will allow her to take time off after treatments.
“I pay every time I go in, so I don’t have to work as many (extra jobs) as I did before,” Buchkar said. “Now, I can get chemo and just go home and not worry about having to work an EJ.”
Buchkar’s mother, Stephanie Martino, had dyed her hair pink in support of her daughter’s fight against breast cancer. Only about 30 minutes into the benefit, the building was filled wall to wall.
“The people that are here — we are so grateful,” Martino said. “It keeps her spirits up too. This gave her something to look forward to.”
Among the guests were Jacinta and David Long, and their daughter Gabby, who run Pumpd Nutrition 249. Buchkar is one of their longstanding patrons and fan of the shop’s peanut butter and jelly smoothie.
“We have a shop that supports breast cancer as far as donations go so when people that we know, especially our customers and friends, are affect by that, we want to help,” David Long said.
Long and his family find inspiration in Buchkar’s strength, he explained before giving her a tearful hug.
“We want all the best for her, for her family, her little girl,” Long said. “We pray for you every day.”
Event guest Morgan Donnell is an avid supporter of law enforcement.
“We own a bar in Tomball called Sportin’ Woody’s and we do a benefit every year called K9s4COPs, so we’re really good friends with all the cops in our area,” Donnell said. “We’ve known Brittney for a couple years now. …Cops work hard. We have their back because they’re going to have your back.”
Deputy Chief Eric Reinkemeyer with the Klein Fire Department explained why he feels supporting a fellow first responder is important.
“It’s a stressful job enough as it is,” Reinkemeyer said. “If we can show support outside of that, it really drives home that we’re all in this fighting the same fight.”