One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), one of the top-five cancer centres in the world, acknowledges this frightening statistic and its 1,200 researchers are doing important work daily to come up with a solution.
“Those people who will hear the words, ‘You have cancer’, need to be hopeful and they need real hope,” said Paul Alofs, the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation chief executive officer at the launch of the Breastober and Pink Epaulette Appeal on October 5 at police headquarters.
Now in its second year, the Breastober campaign profiles the amazing work of PMH doctors, researchers, clinicians and surgeons.
Retired Toronto Police civilian member Freda Lochhead heard the words, “You have cancer,” seven years ago.
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 in 2014.
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.
In an effort to get the Service to be on that wall, the minimum $25,000 to get there in the builder category was achieved.
“This would not have been possible without Court Officer Arthur Hanton who brought the Pink Epaulette program to Toronto Police,” said Lochhead, who retired in 2015, after 35 years with the Service. “We collaborated our efforts in order to try and reach that goal.”
Hanton conceived the idea for the pink epaulette slip-ons after his wife took home a colourful one in 2014.
She works with Toronto Paramedic Service that raised $17,000 that year for the CBCF.
Police, Correctional and Security officers raised $43,000 in 2016 for cancer research and support programs by wearing the pink epaulettes.
Grant Custom Products, a 96-year old company that designs, manages and produces highly customized logos and promotional products, produced the slip-ons.
Deputy Chief Shawna Coxon thanked Hanton and Lochhead for supporting breast cancer awareness initiatives.
“It’s great to be here today to celebrate a ‘good news story’ of so many parties coming together for a common purpose to raise funds for a cause that affects so many of us,” she added.