Danielle Rainey has always wanted to become a police officer, but, until recently, she was afraid to pursue her dream. She dreaded dealing with civilians who fear or hate the police and wasn’t sure how she would handle some of the life-or-death situations the career was likely to throw at her.
“I was scared. You hear about police officers getting shot and killed. Nobody likes the police,” says Danielle. “We’re not here to harass you, we’re here to help and protect.”
However, courage was about to come from an unexpected source to help Danielle follow the calling she felt to serve as a police deputy. A breast cancer diagnosis helped Danielle learn to face her fears and understand how important following your dreams is.
“When I was going through the battle, you know, the question is always ‘Why me?’ I started to ask myself, ‘Why not me?’ I’m going to choose to live.”
Danielle’s diagnosis came in 2013, and she spent the next year in treatment. She lost both her breasts to the disease, but less than a year after being declared cancer-free, she was patrolling the streets as a deputy.
“The battle with cancer, it kind of forced me to follow my dreams,” says Danielle. “It was a way of saying, ‘Hey, if you can survive this, you can survive anything.'”
Danielle believes she’s now doing her life’s true work, and it’s thanks to breast cancer that she found the motivation and strength she needed to pursue this career.
“It’s a calling, like everyone says, you’re called to do this,” she says. “I feel like being a police officer is what I was intended to do, and I’m here, I’m doing it.”
Check out the video below to see more of Danielle’s inspiring story.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?