Police, Correctional and Security officers raised $43,000 for cancer research and support programs this year by wearing their support as part of their uniforms.
Officers sported pink epaulettes on their uniforms during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to raise money for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation Breastober campaign that raised a total of $88,000.
Toronto Police Service Court Officer Arthur Hanton spearheaded fundraising once again, after raising $35,000 last year.
The amount raised this year, through the epaulette program, was announced at a news conference on October 31 at police headquarters to highlight the Service’s contribution to support Breastober that promotes awareness and fundraising for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
“The Breastober initiative is something that’s very important to me,” said PMCC chief executive officer Paul Alofs. “One in nine women will be diagnosed with cancer. In November 2002, we lost our mother to the disease,” he pointed out. “Since then, it has been my passion to really try to do something important to conquer cancer in our lifetime.”
The Breastober initiative funds Dr. Tak Mak who, with his team, has two drugs in phase-one clinical trial, the survivorship program and the rapid diagnostic program that is unique in the world for breast cancer patients and other initiatives that have changed outcomes for them.
Freda Lochhead, who retired from the Service last year after 35 years on the job, spoke about her fight with cancer, and her ongoing fundraising for the hospital.
Diagnosed in 2010 with breast cancer, Lochhead – who was the executive assistant to Mark Saunders when he was a Deputy Chief – has undergone three operations, including restorative surgery a year ago.
While participating for the first time in the annual Terry Fox Run two years ago, she spotted a piece of pink ribbon lying on the ground.
“It was obvious someone had discarded it because it was unglued,” she recalled. “After picking it up, it dawned on me that I could make some of them with October around the corner.”
In the last three years, Lochhead has made over 4,000 fabric ribbons and expanded the website to include handmade jewelry and accessories.
To date, she has raised $9,715.
Funds accrued are donated to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, which has a donor wall to recognize contributions.
Lochhead wants the Service to be on that wall, but it will take a minimum $25,000 to get there in the builder category.
She thanked Hanton for approaching her last year for them to collaborate to reach the goal.
Saunders acknowledged Lochhead and Hanton for their tireless work in promoting awareness and fundraising for breast cancer.
“This is what makes Toronto and Canada so great which is the fact that we have so many people here for a common cause,” he said. “I really do believe that, by the end of this lifetime, we are definitely going to find a cure. It is because of the tremendous support, the awareness and the tremendous staff and people able to do that research.”