ATTLEBORO - Aurora Primo walked into a meeting room of the Attleboro Police Department Tuesday afternoon hugging an American Girl doll named Grace.
The doll was a donation from Faith Alliance Church, a gift meant to bring the 10-year-old comfort when she's in the hospital.
Aurora, a fourth-grader at Attleboro's Hyman Fine Elementary School, was diagnosed with leukemia in January. For the past few weeks, her family has been struggling to keep up with hospital bills, the illness of her dad, Alberto Cruz, and a broken-down truck.
And, because Aurora lives in Attleboro with her father, her two younger sisters, her father's girlfriend, Nadine Miner, and Miner's two children, the family also has to pay for the day-to-day expenses of a seven-person household with the income of just one working parent.
They set up a fundraising account on GoFundMe and started a wristband fundraiser at Aurora's school, but the family hasn't met their $5,000 goal.
So, Attleboro Police Officer Russell Castro stepped in, filing a grant request through Cops for Kids with Cancer, a charity that supports the families of childhood cancer victims run by former Boston police officer Robert Faherty.
The foundation's president was in Attleboro Tuesday to present a $5,000 check to Miner, who's been taking care of Aurora since she was 3 years old.
Dressed in a red jacket and a black striped hat with a few wisps of strawberry blonde hair peaking through, Aurora was all smiles as Faherty gave her a teddy bear, pink shirt, hat, keychain, bumper sticker and Boston police patch, "good for one free arrest," he joked.
In addition, the Attleboro Police Association gave Aurora a tablet, so she can Skype with her mom and grandmother from the hospital.
Miner said she was "extremely grateful" for all the donations.
To celebrate, Castro and Jane Cuddy, Aurora's mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, arranged a party at the police station, complete with pink lemonade and chocolate-mint chip cookies - her favorite. Though she doesn't have much of an appetite nowadays because she's recovering from recent chemotherapy treatments, Aurora likes to bake the cookies with her family when she's up to it, Miner said.
In fact, Aurora's 4-year-old sister, Triniti, announced that she, Aurora and Miner recently made macaroons, while doing laps around the room on a cookie sugar high.
Miner explained that Aurora's baking hobby is one of the reasons she's so attached to her favorite doll. The doll is marketed by American Girl as a girl who likes to bake, and even comes complete with a doll-size baking accessory set.
Aurora may get to make cookies again, soon.
Miner said Aurora has been in remission for two weeks, and is preparing to go back to school for a half-day, three days a week. The rest of her time will be spent at Boston Children's Hospital and possibly the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, if she needs another surgery.
"Our doctors will have to keep testing Aurora over the next two years to make sure nothing comes back," Miner said.
In the meantime, Aurora has her family, a generous community and Grace.