Pennsylvania – On Monday, December 18, 2017, the Delaware State Police were honored in joining allied agencies from throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey and Delaware, to take part in the Sassey Massey Toy Drive: “Delivering Miles of Smiles”, according to Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Michael Austin.
Austin said the Sassy Massey Toy Drive, which started in 2016, was the dream of 5-year-old Jillian Massey, from Lehigh County Pennsylvania, who at the age of 4, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Having spent the better part of a year receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Jillian made it her personal mission to collect 50 toys, over a two day period, to be delivered to patients at CHOP, who wouldn’t be able to make it home for Christmas.
With the help of family and friends, which included the Ridley Township Police Department, Jillian was able to collect 3000 toys, far surpassing her original goal. The donated toys were then personally delivered by Jillian and her team, to her friends who were still hospitalized.
Jillian raised the bar in 2017, hoping to collect 10,000 toys, which would then be delivered to CHOP, as well as eight other regional pediatric hospitals, to include A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington.
Unfortunately in late November, Jillian suffered a re-lapse, and ultimately passed away peacefully, on December 4, surrounded by her loved ones, according to Austin. After Jillian’s passing, her team forged on, changing their supportive tag-line from “You Got This Jillian”, to “We Got This Jillian”.
At 11:00 a.m. on Monday, December 18, 2017, a convoy, which included hundreds of police cars and motorcycles, 12 mounted patrol units, 2 police helicopters and 20 K-9 units, left Ridley Township High School, heading north to Philadelphia and south to Wilmington with over 24,000 donated toys for delivery.
Prior to the departure there was a posthumous swearing in of Jillian, as an honorary member of the Ridley Township Police Department. Jillian’s parents, Janelle and Jim Massey, were presented with a shadow box, which displayed her uniform and her badge, #150, which is now officially retired.
Honor, Integrity, Courage, Loyalty, Attitude, Discipline and Service are the core values of the Delaware State Police. Jillian Massey embodied these values, and during the course of her far too short life, she was without a doubt, a real Trooper.