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Seven-year-old former CHEO cancer patient lives policing dream for a day

"As much as Marnie enjoyed this, I think we all needed something positive," said her father, Thomas.

Marnie Geniole is officially the youngest person to ever be sworn in by the Ottawa Police Service (OPS).

Diagnosed with brain cancer in 2016, Geniole has had several operations, including three stem cell transplants that required several months in hospital at Sick Kids in Toronto and CHEO in Ottawa. 

She was cancer-free in 2018, and wants to be a police officer when she grows up, so a few local officers helped make her dream come true for her seventh birthday by swearing her in as a "police officer for a day" on April 4.

"She picked a police officer uniform for her Halloween costume last year and ended up wearing it all the time," said Geniole's father Thomas.

Ottawa Police Constable Melina Rock has been a long-time friend of the family.

"I planned to visit Marnie during my lunchbreak at her grandparents’ home, which is in the zone I work in the west end," said Melina.

When the constable asked her supervisor for permission to surprise the seven-year-old, she reached out to see if any other officers wanted to participate, including Cst. Satara Stephens, whose child had been at CHEO for cancer treatment at the same time as Marnie.

"By the time Sunday rolled around, we had two officers from the Marine Dive Trail Unit, a certificate signed by Chief Sloly making Marnie an honourary 'officer for a day' and Cst. Stephens had made a custom OPS uniform for her."

To keep the visit a surprise from Marnie and her older sister Ada, who is eight, Thomas packed the Halloween costume in secret. When they got to his in-laws’ house, he told his daughters there was a special operation happening out front. He got Marnie to put on her uniform and wait outside.

The officers drove up on one of their off-road vehicles.

"She was so excited, she was shaking," said Thomas.

Asking for Marnie’s help, they swore her in and showed her what a police officer does while they drove around the neighbourhood.

"As much as Marnie enjoyed this, I think we all needed something positive," said Thomas.

Marnie’s family started the Miracle Marnie Foundation in 2019 to advocate the government for treatment of childhood cancer and support patients and their families with programs, education and awareness.

The OPS says the officers involved in this special operation for Marnie were as excited as she was, or perhaps more so, to provide this opportunity to a young lady who has been through so much.

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