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Cancer survivor helped by officers after being locked out

December 24, 2020 GMT

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi woman with cancer is publicly thanking two police officers who she says helped her get out of a potentially life-threatening situation on a recent night.

Sherry Furtick of McComb told the Enterprise-Journal she arrived home late on Dec. 6 after a visit at the hospital where she was told she had developed pneumonia from chemotherapy treatment.

It was 3 a.m. and cold, and she realized her front door wouldn’t open.

“I put my key in the door. It just twirled around,” Furtick said.

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Furtick said she doesn’t have any family nearby to call — she moved to McComb 16 years ago, but most of her family lives out of state. It was too late to wake neighbors, so she called 911.

McComb police Lt. Anthony Varaksa and officer Ernest Parsons, a new hire in training, responded. They were able to open Furtick’s door, but told her she would need a new lock.

The next day, Varaksa and Parsons paid Furtick another visit — this time with a surprise.

“They said, ‘Merry Christmas,’ and bought me a lock for my door,” she said. The officers installed the new doorknob themselves.

Furtick has triple negative Stage 2 breast cancer. In addition to pneumonia, she said chemo treatments have also given her carpal tunnel syndrome. A recent fall and leg injury have made it challenging to run errands and buy groceries.

“If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I would’ve done,” she said.