ST. PAUL — When Matt Boogren’s father was sick and needed full-time care, Boogren took time off from his job as a St. Paul police officer last year to help his family.

The 26-year-old returned to patrolling the city’s streets at the beginning of December, but within days he wasn’t feeling well himself. After doctor visits and tests, he received a diagnosis he was never expecting during an already tough year — he has an aggressive form of cancer.

Now, Boogren’s co-workers are fundraising to help pay for medical bills that won’t be covered by insurance.

“He’s not the type of person to ask for help; he’s the one who wants to help,” said Officer Emily Monson, who has known Boogren since they were in the St. Paul police academy together in 2018. Both work in the police department’s Central District. “We wanted to do something to help because he’s not going to show that he’s stressed and worried about it, but I know he is.”

Monson and St. Paul Officer Cory Zimprich started a GoFundMe for Boogren. People had contributed more than $5,000 as of Tuesday.

If enough money is raised, they want to also help Boogren’s father with his medical bills and care. Boogren’s cancer is unrelated to his father’s illness, Monson said.

Boogren’s initial time away from work to help take care of his dad — who is doing better — is an example of the caring person he is, Monson said. “He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met,” she added.

After Boogren’s diagnosis, he underwent surgery in December and a biopsy showed his tumor was “an aggressive and rapid spreading form of cancer,” Zimprich wrote on the fundraising website. His oncologist said there was an approximately 60 percent chance the cancer would spread to other organs, but the hope is that chemotherapy will put a stop to it.

But there was another roadblock — Boogren, who hasn’t been able to return to work, developed an infection from his surgery site, Monson said. Doctors wanted to ensure he was completely healed before starting chemo; he was able to begin last week.

“Matt is holding up well and still trying his best to stay positive,” Monson wrote. “Matt is already feeling tired and quite sick from the chemo treatments, and that will unfortunately continue to get worse.”

Monson said Boogren is appreciative that people are contributing money, particularly during the financially challenging times of the coronavirus pandemic, and also thankful for anyone who keeps him in their thoughts and prayers.

How to help

The fundraiser for Matt Boogren can be found at gofundme.com/f/for-the-family-of-matthew-boogren.

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