Sherlock's Advocate of the Month

Greensboro Police Sgt. Sean Gladieux

It is not often that a police officer – on duty, in uniform and armed – pulls up to your business unannounced and the outcome is really GOOD! But that is exactly what happened to Earlier.org - Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test on a sunny spring afternoon in early 2007. Greensboro Police Captain Janice Rogers came to introduce herself and tell us about a special officer – two special officers, actually – and the change they wanted to see in breast cancer earlier detection.

Sean & Jill Gladieux

From that initial visit forward, Earlier.org has had a very special friendship and partnership with Greensboro Police Lt. Jill Gladieux – a breast cancer survivor – and her caring and loving husband, Sgt. Sean Gladieux. Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2007 at only 40 years old. Sean and Jill’s precious baby girl, Gabrielle, was only 2 years old. Sean’s first and continuously pressing question was, “How in the world was this possible?” Not only was his beautiful wife only 40 years old, she was a healthy, physically fit young woman. Sean quickly sprang into action. In talking with his fellow officers, Sean became of aware of Earlier.org. Surely a biological TEST would have detected Jill’s cancer earlier and this would have changed everything. He knew this was a mission he had to get behind because identifying this test would not only benefit his young wife and baby girl, but it could also prevent other women from being surprised at a young age with a diagnosis like Jill’s. 

As Jill was going through surgery and treatment, Sean sat up nights because he couldn’t sleep. He thought and thought about a way to raise money through all of his contacts in the Police Department and throughout the community. He arrived at a Challenge Coin. It is a tradition in the military, and now law enforcement, EMT and Fire Departments, to have a “Challenge Coin” that represents Courage, Honor & Remembrance. The idea is to buy a “pair” of coins and give one to the person you are honoring or remembering and keep one for yourself. Sean created a beautiful breast cancer awareness Challenge Coin and sold it everywhere – literally everywhere – both locally and nationally, raising over $10,000 for earlier detection test research. 

But, for those who know Sean, you know that was hardly going to be enough. He took it a step – actually many steps – further. In 2008, Sean was named a Yoplait Champion, a national honor recognizing his efforts toward breast cancer research and fundraising. In 2009, Sean joined the Board of Directors of Earlier.org and he hit the ground running, immediately beginning plans for a Charity Golf Tournament called Teeing Off for Ta-Tas! (The name is a Sean Gladieux original.) The inaugural Teeing Off for Ta-Tas! took place in October 2010 and raised nearly $10,000 for earlier detection research. (Reference the beginning of this paragraph – yep, not enough!) Sean immediately (literally) began planning the 2nd Annual Teeing Off for Ta-Tas! Golf Tournament with a goal to DOUBLE his fundraising from the inaugural Tournament. October 2011 arrived and not only did Sean DOUBLE enrollment in the Tournament, he increased fundraising by 150%, generating $25,000 for Earlier.org.

For 2012, Sean is planning a 3rd Annual Golf Tournament on October 1, with a fundraising goal even higher than the first two. Register early, as he has sold out and had to turn folks away each of the past two years. Sean also accepted the position of President-Elect on the 2012 Board of Directors which means in 2013, just a few short years after that knock on the door from the uniformed police officer, Sean Gladieux will be the President of Earlier.org, having raised nearly $75,000 for a cause that he really, truly, holds near and dear to his heart. But the most important statistic in this journey, the  most important “point” on the timeline, the most noteworthy accomplishment – more important than any event attendance numbers, dollar amount raised or position held, is the fact that 2012 marks five precious years since Jill Gladieux’s initial diagnosis – and Jill Gladieux is a happy, healthy, thriving mom, wife and community servant today and every day of the year!

Sean and Jill graciously allowed us to produce a very moving video about their story when we first met them in 2007. Watch their "Soul Mates" video here.

To register and learn more about the 3rd Annual Teeing Off for Ta-Tas! Golf Tournament on October 1, check out our Upcoming Events page.

To order the Gladieux Challenge Coin ($12 for one / $20 for a pair), please call 336-286-6620.