For Staff Sergeant Dave Rydzik, there were thoughts of people lost to cancer and those fighting on, as he shaved his head at the 18th annual Cops for Cancer fundraiser on April 12 at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Good friend, and fellow 42 Divisionofficer, Richard Moxley, succumbed to cancer last year and eight-year-old Tucker Williams, who plays on the same hockey team as his son, was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year.
On April 10, five-year-old Vivian Whitefield – the daughter of 42 Division Constable Ross Whitefield – was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She underwent surgery the following day and is recovering in hospital.
Rydzik raised nearly $7,000 this year for the fundraiser that benefits the Canadian Cancer Society in supporting those afflicted with the disease and research into cures.
“This is a great cause and it’s good to know that I have such wonderful family, friends and networks in the corporate community in 42 Division, who have been so supportive of this endeavour,” added Rydzik, who participated in the event last year for the first time.
He was among 20 officers from his Division who attended the fundraiser. They raised almost $15,000. The entire event raised $85,000.
“This is a charity that means a lot to us,” said Const. Cheryl Tomlinson-Thompson, a School Resource Officer who accompanied several high school students to the event to get some of their hair trimmed. The donated hair will be used to make wigs for women suffering from cancer.
Staff Superintendent Rick Stubbings and Constable Michelle Jones, of 13 Division, didn’t mind giving up some time on their day off to show up at the mall for the fundraiser.
Stubbings, whose father, Bob, succumbed to cancer in 1996, raised $2,000.
“It just brings home how cancer affects all of us at so many levels,” he said. “I don’t mind cutting my hair to support finding a cure for this disease. It’s a small price to pay to have a positive effect on such a horrible disease.”
Jones is a close friend of Constable Chris Sirbos, whose seven-year-old daughter, Samantha, has been matched with a bone marrow donor. She was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago.
“I am very excited about doing this to support a friend and colleague,” Jones said.
In the past few years, Staff Sergeant Chris Boddy has used social media and other virtual platforms to promote the fundraiser.
“Cancer affects everybody,” he said. “I have an aunt who is battling breast cancer. We are going to keep coming back here until we find a cure for this disease.”
The Cops for Cancer committee presented an Official Hero of Cops for Cancer award to Boddy for his unrelenting support over the years.
“Every community is filled with local heroes,” said Yorkdale Mall Marketing Director Lucia Connor, who made the presentation. “Thank you for being one of them.”
Deputy Chief Mike Federico has been shaving his head for the past seven years. He has also been clipping 11-year-old Logan Fuller’s head since 2009, when they met at a Cops for Cancer fundraiser at Scarborough Town Centre.
The boy willingly accepted Federico’s request to shave his head and has attended every fundraiser since.
The fundraiser is also personal for Federico, since his wife is a breast cancer survivor.
“Every year, I am impressed by the generosity of Canadians and, in particular, Torontonians who support the fight against cancer,” he said. “It really warms my heart. This is a great opportunity for the police and the community to work with the Canadian Cancer Society to eradicate cancer.”
Susan Drodge, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Director of Corporate and Community Partnerships, acknowledged the cops’ support.
“They have simply been amazing,” she pointed out. “This is one of my favourite events because it not only raises money for the society, but it also just shows how unbelievably community-minded and generous the Toronto Police are. We just really, really love working with them. There just is not a better bunch of people.”
The Chinese Community Consultative Committee and Toronto Police Service Board member Dr. Dhun Noria and her husband Farokh donated $1,000 to the fundraiser.
Dhun Noria, a surgical pathologist, is a two-time cancer survivor, who was first diagnosed in 1994. The cancer returned in 2003.
The Norias recently donated $1 million to The Scarborough Hospital.