CLEVELAND — Cleveland Police Officer Vicki Przybylski is an inspiration and represents the best of Northeast Ohio.
Born and raised here, she’s been a police officer for more than 16 years but spent over a year battling stage 4 ovarian cancer.
She is a wife, a mother and a humble hero who's grateful for life and the love she's received.
"I'm just so happy to be back on patrol, and to be able to really go out and help people, and to be back with my guys," smiled Cleveland Police Officer Vicki Przybylski.
On a gray winter day in The Land, she is a ray of sunshine inside CPD's Fourth District.
Przybylski is back on the beat after battling stage 4 ovarian cancer for the past 13 months. Her grit and courage is a testament to who she is.
"I told my family the day I got diagnosed that I'm gonna fight with everything I got and I'm not going to quit," said Przybylski.
It started Nov. 1, 2021, for Vicki.
She says she went into the emergency room at University Hospitals because she wasn't feeling well. They told her she had an 8-inch mass on her ovary. The next morning, she was meeting with her cancer doctors to come up with a plan.
Her message: keep fighting and listen to your body. Vicki says had she waited even just a couple more weeks to get checked out, her diagnosis could've been much different.
"It's a source of strength," she said when asked about a beautiful prayer bracelet that hugs her wrist. She says it was a gift from her pastor, who's also the police and fire chaplain. Faith, she says is the cornerstone of the foundation that's helped build her up during her darkest days of treatment, along with people. So many people.
Her diagnosis and cancer fight are two more badges of honor Officer Przybylski wears along with her heart on her sleeve every day when she's on the job and serving a city and the people she loves.
"The headline of this whole story isn't me," she said. "The headline of this whole story is my friends and family that took such good care of me. Everybody who prayed for me. Everyone who checked in on me. My community. That's what healed me — having all these people who are my tribe, my community take such good care of me. It's our story not just mine."
Officer Przybylski is in remission. She says she will now be on maintenance treatment and wanted to give a shout-out to her oncology doctor, Sarah Lynam at UH.
To reinforce Przybylski's heart, she's a recipient of Officer of the Month from CPD. In the write-up, her compassion for the community, specifically children, was noted. For example, when she got a local store to donate a bike to a 5-year-old who just had theirs stolen.
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