For Sgt. James Adamson, cancer has cut deep.
The Police Dog Services officer lost his uncle this January to the disease.
“It broke my heart to see him in hospital,” he said, of his uncle Julian Selano, 74, admitted last October to hospital for the final time to treat his leukemia.
“Nobody should go through what he went through, and there are thousands of other cancer patients. It was an awful feeling. You so much want to do anything possible but you’re helpless – it’s so frustrating. All you can do is continue to give that love and support.”
It is why Adamson and dozens of other Service and community members shaved their heads at the Cops For Cancer head shave at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, April 13.
“Look at the support, they’re not just standing here, they’re engaged in the community and they want to help,” said Adamson, who got his close shave as his police dog, Sonic, looked on.
And help they did. As people had their heads shaved, police hats were passed around to raise money.
They weighed in with their wallets, putting the fundraising grand total at over $85,000 to support Canadian Cancer Society research and support. Well over $10,000 was raised on the day alone, as shoppers stopped to support the cause.
Chief Bill Blair asked the hundreds assembled at the mall to raise their hands if they were affected by cancer. Every person raised their hands.
“We’re raising money for an important cause that makes a difference in the lives of people we care about, people we love, people we support and care about,” Blair said.
Oxford Properties operations manager John Haylock and Yorkdale Shopping Centre general manager Anthony Casalanguida didn’t lose any hair, but managed to raise over $21,000.
|With Shahi Ram, PC Cheryl Tomlinson |
and Nicole Ngo at Yorkdale Shopping Centre
Cops For Cancer fundraising chair Deputy Chief Michael Federico said the fundraising support for the Service has been overwhelming.
“This is great example of how the community supports their police and an excellent example of the partnership we always promote which is essential to do our job,” Federico said, noting community members, Service members and members of the Toronto Police Services Board, Chair Alok Mukherjee and Dhun Noria, came out to support the event.
“Many of the participants volunteer and raise money to get their head shaved because they are personally connected to the disease because it’s friend or family member they are supporting.”
Breakfast Television weather specialist Frank Ferragine lost his brother, Tony, to a rare form of cancer in 1998.
“Losing my hair is a tribute to him and raising some money today is all about the other people and all the other families touched by cancer,” Ferragine said.
The top fundraising officers were Insp. Myron Demkiw, S/Sgt. Dave Rydzik and S/Sgt. Chris Boddy.
“We’ve been really touched by cancer, losing a good friend and officer Richard Moxley recently, and having other officers battling it right now,” said Rydzik, who got an amazing response from the community, raising close to $4,300.
“When you’re working the Community Response Unit you get to meet a lot of good people who care about the community and I had a lot of support from them,” he said, of support from citizens, businesses as well as officers.
Rydzik had the support of many on the day including his wife, Estelle, daughter, Ashley, and son, Ryan.
“Everyone who knows me, knows I love my hair,” said Rydzik, noting one officer gave him $500 to see him shave his head.
“It feels pretty good but I’m almost afraid to look at it.”
The top team came from 42 Division, raising over $9,000.
Steven Fox, of 42 Division, said officers were inspired by Const. Moxley’s fight with the disease.
“I’ve seen a lot of my friends affected by cancer,” Fox said, noting the loss of Richard Moxley galvanized fellow 42 Division officers to support the event.
|With David Saunders |
at Yorkdale Shopping Centre
His wife, Joy, and daughters, Abby, 8, and Madelyn, 10, were happy to see his head of hair and bushy beard go.
Const. Gord Reid (@tpsgordo) and Det. Jeff Bangild (@TPSDetBangild), of 14 Division died their hair hot pink for the event, a small sacrifice for those they’ve lost.
“In honour of my friend, my mother and my aunt, I decided to do it,” Reid said, of those he has lost to cancer, including Nancy Roberts, an auxiliary officer in 33 Division, who lost her battle recently.
“It touches so many people so if I can make a small difference I wanted to get involved.”
There were also many community contributors to the cause Const. Cheryl Tomlinson-Thompson, of 42 Division, spearheaded a lot of support at the Division as well as at the school she works at as a School Resource Officer.
She rallied 11 young women from Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute, to give eight inches of their hair to make wigs for children who’ve lost their hair because of cancer treatment. School principal Roy Hu also participated in the event, being locked in jail twice, raising hundreds of dollars.
“We’re very happy and thankful for the opportunity,” said Shahithra Ramesh, 18, of being able to donate hair and raise $2,500 through her team.
Another, smaller, youth contingent kicked in money as the Kids of Cops for Cancer team, Alexandra and Kirsten Connor and Anthony Giordano raised over $4,600 on behalf of their fathers from the Ontario Provincial Police and South Simcoe Police.
Please visit the Toronto Police Service's photo albums page for more photos from this great event.