Clipped cops raise millions to head off cancer

By Jasminee Sahoye

Police across Canada are taking part in Cops for Cancer head shaving events, raising $45 million so far. Canadian Cancer Society Photo
Police across Canada are taking part in Cops for Cancer head shaving events, raising $45 million so far. Canadian Cancer Society Photo

Men going bald have become a fashion statement but the Canadian Cancer Society is teaming up with groups that are interested in shaving their heads for a worthy cause – to conquer cancer.

Playing a leading role, police officers and emergency service personnel are involving communities across Ontario in fundraising and cancer awareness activities in the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer events. To date, Cops for Cancer has raised more than $45 million.

The events range from head shaves in public places to participating in bike rides such as Pedal for Hope to organizing various school-based fundraising activities.

To raise funds in the fight against cancer, event participants collect pledges from co-workers, friends, family and community members. The money helps the Canadian Cancer Society fund the most promising research projects in the country, provide information services and support programs in the community, advocate for public policies that prevent cancer and help those living with it.

In June 1994, Sgt. Gary Goulet of Edmonton Police Service met Lyle Jorgenson, a five-year-old boy with cancer. Goulet requested the meeting after learning Lyle was being ridiculed at school because of his hair loss due to chemotherapy.

Goulet was so moved by Lyle’s story that he decided to do something.

“My head was already shaved, so I asked Lyle to have his picture taken with me in a police cruiser,” said Goulet who then gathered a group of Edmonton officers willing to shave their heads and they joined Lyle in school to show kids that being bald was cool.

Afterwards, Goulet received a letter from a woman whose daughter had lost her hair during cancer treatment and she urged him to continue his campaign. Goulet contacted the Canadian Cancer Society and the head shaving event grew to neighbouring police forces and eventually spread across the country.

Last year, the Canadian Cancer Society invested $58.9 million in the fight for life and funded $21.3 million in life-saving research that is transforming the way cancer is prevented, diagnosed, and treated.

To participate as a group, here are some tips from the Canadian Cancer Society:

  • Decide if you are going to shave your head or cut your hair. After you have made the decision, you must also decide if you want to do this on your own or in a group.
  • If you decide on a group head shave, recruit family, friends, co-workers or anyone willing to cut their hair, shave their head, shave their beard, etc.
  • Set a fundraising goal. It should be achievable but have an element of challenge.
  • Determine the time, date, and location of your fundraiser. You can hold you head shave at home, school, hair salon, community centre, etc.
  • Start collecting donations and register your event on the society’s online fundraising site.
  • Promote your event and ask everyone you know to support it. Good places to promote your event are Facebook and Twitter.
  • Collect the donations and bring them to your local Canadian Cancer Society office.
  • For more information visit