Hats Help Nicholas

By Sara Faruqi, Toronto Police Service Published: 6 a.m. December 30, 2015

An outpouring of generosity for a little boy continued into the holidays.

A boy wearing a camouflage hat that has a toronto police logo on it
Nicholas Lapensee wearing a hat Constable Andrewn Pigram made to raise funds for the Lapensee family.

“Sometimes it takes a tough situation to realize how much good there is,” says Constable Andrew Pigram, who helped raise $10,000 for renovations to a fellow officer’s home to help care for his son.

Four-year-old Nicholas Lapensee, the son of Sergeant Sylvain Lapensee, was born two months premature with multiple diseases and disorders. Nicholas turned four this year and is unable to walk and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Because Nicholas is getting older, the family is having a hard time picking him and moving him around the house.

In September, members from  43 Division where Lapensee works, decided to raise funds so the family could add a lift in their home and make the bathroom accessible for Nicholas. By October, several Service-wide fundraisers and a Tilt campaign netted $36,000 of the minimum $65,000 they needed. (That Tilt campaign has since raised $72,000). 

In September however, as people were wondering how to raise money, Pigram had decided on making hats and selling them to Service members. 

“I had the idea after I learned the severity of the situation,” says Pigram, who once ran a clothing company with a friend. His father, retired Sergeant Alan Pigram also once made police apparel and still works in the clothing business, so the younger Pigram knew he had the resources to make hats to sell.

“It broke my heart really that Sylvain had been going through this for a few years without asking for help and essentially I had to do something and I knew I had the resources to make the hats,” says Pigram who started off with four designs.

As requests started coming through for the hats, the four designs turned into 12 different designs and by mid-October Pigram had 24 different styles and designs of hats. From fishing hats to toques, ball caps and hunting hats.

In the last four months the constable was able to sell 880 hats and raise $10,240. 

“The goal was $2000 which turned to $5000 and from there I decided I’m just going to see what happens,” says the 43 Division constable.

A man in a dark tshirt, standing in front of a stall with different kinds of hats on display
Constable Andrew Pigram selling hats he created to help raise money for the Lapensee family.

Pigram and his family met the Lapensee family on Christmas Eve and handed over the money raised to contribute to their renovation funds. 

When Sergeant Lapensee opened the wrapped box Pigram handed to him, he was speechless. 

“I was in shock,” said the Lapensee, who said that he did not know more money was being raised. 

“The timing was amazing, renovations are going on and nothing ever happens on time or on budget,” said Lapensee. 

The money will go towards installing a ramp and track system in their house, says the sergeant. He says his family has been blown away by the generosity of the Service and how people come together for fellow TPS members.

“It’s amazing, the amount of people I have met on the job who have the same understanding of what the police family is. So many different people who don’t know anything about him or the family feel like they know him and understand him and want to help him,” echoes Pigram of his fundraising experience.

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