As You See It

Earth angel

To the Editor,

This isn’t my usual comment concerning crime and other harbingers of doom and destruction. It is, instead, a subject of hope and survival.

Dione Knop, Sheboygan County District Attorney Victim/ Witness Coordinator, appeared live via SKYPE this past Friday, October 9, 2015 on a BBC television show oddly called “Loose Women,” apparently the British equivalent of “The View.”

Dione was invited to appear due to her work with Project Angel Hugs, a Sheboygan County based non-profit cancer survivor group for children and their families that currently serves 107 their families that currently serves 107 families in Wisconsin and 237 families in 42 other states.

Dione is a breast cancer survivor having undergone a harsh treatment regime of chemotherapy and surgery some eight years ago.

During this process, she bought a polka dot dress as her personal sign of hope and strength as she struggled to get well. Once her treatment was completed and she was cancer free, she organized a “polka dot dress party,” a celebration of life and survival.

The first party was limited to family and friends, but the second was expanded and used as a fund raiser for Project Angel Hugs. For the last eight years, Dione has hosted her annual “polka dot dress party,” raising over $23,000 in money donations and another $5,000 in gift donations to support Project Angel Hugs.

The BBC live appearance required Dione and a group of supporters to be available beginning at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning. Betsy Alles, the Executive Director of the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce and a cancer survivor herself, graciously offered the use of that agency’s building and communications equipment for the broadcast and IT professional Cole Sheldon volunteered his skills to facilitate the transmission.

Dione appeared with a large group of polka dot dressed supporters including Anna, a 13-year-old, two-time survivor of leukemia. After the broadcast, the FaceBook page of Project Angel Hugs lit up with comments from Great Britain and Scotland on the “Polka Dot Dress Party.”

I simply must say it. Dione is an extraordinary woman. Not only is she recognized as a leading Victim/Witness Coordinator throughout this state assisting my office in providing services to victims and witnesses of crime, she also works closely with local agencies and law enforcement in training and coordination of outside services.

She is frequently asked to speak on victim issues to local service groups and to speak at state Victim/Witness personnel conferences due to her knowledge and expertise. And not only did she survive a horrendous disease, she has now dedicated herself to helping the most heartbreaking victims of cancer --- children.

Joe DeCecco

District Attorney

Sheboygan County

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