Kaleida Health has donated $20,000 and raised $20,000 from its vendors and partners for a fundraiser that will benefit a Buffalo police officer who was shot early last month.
Kaleida also will serve as honorary business leader for the March 31 event that will benefit Officer Patricia Parete.
James R. Kaskie, Kaleida's president and chief executive officer, is sending a "challenge letter" to more than 500 organizations.
Kaskie presented the donation during ceremonies Thursday in Buffalo General Hospital. Mayor Byron W. Brown, Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson and Central District Police Chief Donna Berry were among those in attendance.
Parete and her partner, Officer Carl Andolina, were shot Dec. 5 while responding to a fight at a gas station-store at West Chippewa Street and South Elmwood Avenue. Andolina was shot in the neck but was released from the hospital after a couple of days. Parete suffered a traumatic injury to her spine and is undergoing rehabilitation.
Kaskie said Parete faces many health care challenges in the coming months.
"I am hopeful that the business community -- especially our partners in health care -- will respond to Kaleida Health's challenge and rally around this wounded hero," Kaskie said.
The Buffalo Convention Center fundraiser is being organized by Parete's friends and colleagues, including the Police Benevolent Association. Tickets will be $25 a person. A hotline has been set up to receive and transit information about the event. For more information, call 851-4439.