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Police Officers Give Family Struggling With Illness An Early 'Blue' Christmas To Remember

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A South L.A. family received an early Christmas surprise from suited do-gooders in blue, not red.

Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department provided some holiday cheer for the Lopez family. Mother Angelina was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, but her illness came back and aggressively spread to other parts of body.

As part of "Operation Blue Christmas," an initiative of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, officer Yesenia Rodriguez and Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz showed up to ease some of that pain, emotionally, at least, with cheer and presents for the family of six.

"Yes, we're police officers, but people forget that behind the badge, we do care," Rodriguez told CBS2 News.

Lopez family
LAPD officers with the Lopez family.

Angelina, 47, got to know these officers through the LAPD Newton Division PALS, a youth crime prevention and community support program where she helped by volunteering at the police station and cooking at events.

Daughter Maritza, 18, had to take on the role of mom and is trying to hold it together for her family. She told the officers she'll always hold on to memories of this Christmas.

"It gets me because, for so long, my mom was always there for us, and now from one day to the next, she stopped doing what a mother is supposed to be doing," a tearful but grateful Maritza told CBS2.

"To have Christmas before Christmas, we want every day for her to be Christmas because we never know what tomorrow will bring," Sandoz, who is also vice president of the LAPPL, told CBS2.

Learn more about "Operation Blue Christmas" at the LAPPL website.

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