TAMAP (FOX 13) - For as long as she can remember, Andrea Urig wanted to be a police officer, but things always seemed to pop up and prevent her from going after her dream.
Andrea worked with the University of South Florida Police Department in a number of different positions, including a dispatcher, until she was given an opportunity to go to the academy free of charge and, in turn, work for the department after graduation.
"It was a dream that I had to put on hold time and time again for different life circumstances. I put it on hold for so long that I honestly lost hope in it,” said Andrea. “I just wanted to be a part of the community and be a role model.”
And with USF PD’s offer, Andrea thought it was finally coming together. But, two hours into her first day, something happened that would forever change her life.
"I got the phone call on my first break and they told me that I had cancer. I was devastated. I was now thinking that my dream was turning into a nightmare," Andrea said.
Doctors told her to stop the Academy because her Breast Cancer was not only severe, but it was also the most aggressive form of Cancer there is. The instructors and the department said she could stop and pick it back up again when she was healthy.
But Andrea had other plans.
"I made sure that I told my instructors and my fellow cadets that no one was to feel sympathy for me.”
And that was because she refused to quit. Andrea decided her battle with breast cancer would not stop her from battling through the Police Academy.
"At 7 o'clock in the morning, we're running PT's, doing push-ups, sit-ups- we're fighting,” explained Andrea. “A lot of people call me a warrior, a hero, a super hero. I just think of it as the perfect distraction."
A distraction that ended in success. Andrea completed the academy, and also came out on top in her fight with cancer.
She’s now cancer-free and living out her dream as a University of South Florida police officer.
Andrea’s experience inspired her to help others fighting her former battle, so she started “Hats for Cutie” to collect head-coverings for those undergoing hair-loss from chemotherapy.
If you're interested in donating, here is the address:
Hats for Cutie or Andrea Urig
PO Box 7385
Wesley Chapel, FL 33545