Nine years ago, Constable Radoslaw Figlarz didn’t think much about donating his hair to raise money for cancer research.
“I just thought it was a great cause,” he recounted.
Little did he know that, a year later, he would be diagnosed with lymphoma. He would have no hair to offer for the next two years because of chemotherapy.
“My approach was that it happened and I had to deal with it,” said Figlarz, who started out as a court officer before becoming a uniformed member in 2007.
With his cancer in remission, and hair on his head again, the 32 Division officer is back giving his locks to charity.
He shaved his head to launch the 20th annual Cops for Cancer event at Yorkdale Mall on March 1.
Started in Edmonton in 1994, Cops for Cancer is a national program raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society to fund research and support patients.
Last year’s event at Yorkdale Mall raised almost $103,000.
In the past two decades, just over $1 million has been raised to support cancer research.
Since 2010, Inspector Chris Boddy has used social media to promote the fundraiser.
“Toronto Police Service feels that the fight against crime is just as important as the fight against cancer,” said Boddy. “Just last year, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. We all know somebody who has been touched by the disease.”
City Councillor Norm Kelly attended the event and praised Toronto Police for their support over the years.
“Rarely does cancer evade a family,” he said. “It’s an intrusive and ugly disease that takes far too many people, many of them way before their time.”
Over the years, 32, 33 and 42 Divisions, along with Court Services and the Transit Patrol, have been strong supporters of the Cops for Cancer fundraiser.
“We are so appreciative of the dedicated volunteers and fundraisers, including Toronto Police, who help make Cops for Cancer a success annually,” said Canadian Cancer Society corporate and community partnerships director Susan Drodge.
In 2008, retired Detective Constable Dave Walker – then an undercover officer – raised thousands of dollars at the annual Yorkdale Cops for Cancer event.
Two years later, his daughter – Jordan Walker – was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that starts in the bones.
Sergeant Troy Burgess joined the Walkers – her husband and daughter – at the kick-off ceremony.
“We feel a need to serve not only as police officers, but our community,” she said. “The Canadian Cancer Society has no pre-qualifiers. If you need, they give. Their gift to us was hard to take, but they made it so easy.”
Two years ago, cancer survivor Jordan Walker joined Yorkdale Mall as a security officer.
This year’s Cops for Cancer event takes place on Saturday, April 16, at Yorkdale Mall.
In just under half an hour at the launch, $400 was raised.
Organizers expect this year’s total will surpass the 2015 mark.
Learn more or donate through theCops For Cancer website