Service members are proudly sporting a pink flourish on their uniforms this month to take action against breast cancer.
In just two months, over $35,000 was raised for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) through the sale of pink epaulet slip-ons. The cost of a pair of epaulets was $20.
Chief Mark Saunders, who gave the go-ahead for Service members to wear the slip-ons during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, presented a cheque for $35,807.81 to CBCF vice-president of development Anthony Miceli at police headquarters on October 14.
“A lot of people are asking questions (about the pink epaulets) and I thought that is good because it’s keeping the conversation on the table,” said Saunders.
“About 150 years from now, it’s going to be ‘take a pill and you are going to be fine’. But we are not there yet. So any advancement towards this cause is such an important thing. I thought it was such a nice idea. It caught on even though most dudes don’t like wearing pink.”
Accompanied by CBCF corporate programs co-ordinator Jennifer Chang, Miceli said the TPS support was awe-inspiring.
“These donations are used primarily to support our investment in research,” he said.
“We are the largest funder of breast cancer research in Canada and 70 per cent of all our revenue goes towards supporting breast cancer research. The other work we do is around health promotion, education and advocacy. Not only do efforts like the one TPS was involved in raise important dollars, but it raises a lot of awareness that is greatly needed in terms of opportunities to do something about the disease. About half of all breast cancer cases are preventable, so if we can get people talking about the risk factors, we can start influencing change.”
Court officer Arthur Hanton conceived the idea for the pink epaulet slip-ons after his wife took home a colourful one last year.
She works with Toronto Paramedic Service that raised $17,000 in 2014 for the CBCF.
“I was counting on our Service members supporting the endeavour, but not to this extent where we were able to raise so much money,” said Hanton.
“This is unbelievable. The other thing that came out of this fundraising exercise is that I received a lot of emails from people affected in one way or the other by the disease. It was so heart-warming and humbling to read these stories.”
Court Services Superintendent Diane Miller praised Hanton, whose family attended the ceremony.
“In addition to raising so much money, he also raised the profile of our unit,” she added.
“The campaign was well received and I am so proud of him and all the members who supported it.”
Grant Custom Products, a 94-year old company that designs, manages and produces highly customized logos and promotional products, produced the slip-ons.