Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Buffalo Police “Go Bald” to Support Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Buffalo, NY –The Erie County Sheriff’s Office and Buffalo Police Department (BPD) snipped, clipped and shaved their way to cancer cures today, raising a collective $39,400 to support cancer research and patient-care programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center through the Goin’ Bald for Bucks program.

Since November 1st, more than 250 City of Buffalo Police Officers and 280 Erie County Sheriff Deputies have grown out their beards to raise funds for the fight against cancer. In order to be excluded from a policy that prohibits beards and long sideburns, each participant paid $25 toward their fundraising efforts. Additional donations were made to both groups by community members, local businesses and other members of their departments.

This is the first year that the Erie County Sheriff’s Office has participated in the Bald for Bucks program. Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said he learned of the BPD’s participation in December 2015 and wanted to get involved this year. “We do what we do every day to keep our community safe, but we want to do more. It’s important to give back to organizations like Roswell Park who do such important work for those battling cancer here in Buffalo,” said Sheriff Howard. “It takes a lot of courage and strength for cancer survivors to fight through their treatments.  I want them to know that we’re willing to do what we can to help.”

In addition to shaving his beard, Howard also shaved his head and mustache as a surprise for his wife, Sue, who is battling cancer. Sue lost her hair as a result of her chemotherapy and is approaching her final treatment with the hope of being declared cancer free. She was present at the Erie County Sheriff’s office to witness the shave.

“We’ll grow it back together,” a fresh-faced Howard said to his wife in a live video on the Bald for Bucks Facebook page.

The Sheriff’s Office raised $19,400 including a fundraising match by their union, Teamsters Local 264 and Local IBT, as well as the Erie County Sheriff’s Benevolent Association. The BPD raised $20,000 which includes a fundraising match by the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.

Sheriff Howard shared that he’d like to see more departments get involved. “I invite other departments to join us in going bald next year,” he said.

Goin’ Bald for Bucks began in 2002, when Western New Yorker Cathleen George was being treated for cancer. Her brother, Tony, vowed to keep his head shaved until his sister’s hair grew back. Tony, a teacher at Lake Shore High School, shared his plan with his students. One student suggested they raise money while shaving Tony's head, and Bald for Bucks was born. To date, Bald for Bucks participants have raised more than $4.5 million.

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