THUNDER BAY -- For 20 years, Greg Stephenson has been shaving his head in support of cancer research.
The president of the Thunder Bay Police Association allowed his hair to be shaved off once again Thursday to launch the 20th annual Cops for Cancer campaign at the Canadian Cancer Society Community Office.
"It's for a great cause," Stephenson said. "It raises funds for the fight against cancer and it also raises awareness."
"My mom is a cancer survivor and I've lost many friends to cancer so anything that we can do to help fight and find a cure would be great."
Since 1997, Stephenson has faithfully taken part in the Cops for Cancer campaign making a goal for himself to raise $1,000 each year.
"It's an annual ritual. People see me coming in April and they run because they know I'm looking for money."
Stephenson explained that the police station supports many causes but the Cops for Cancer campaign is one specifically that is close to his heart.
Fundraising specialist Dani Ashley said the Cops for Cancer campaign started in 1994 when a five-year-old boy was being ridiculed at school because of his hair loss from chemotherapy.
A Sergeant from the Edmonton Police Service was so moved by the boy's story that he wanted to do something for the youngster.
A group of Edmonton officers shaved their heads and joined the boy at his school to show his peers that being bald was cool.
To raise funds in the fight against cancer, police officers and other emergency service personnel organize the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer event by involving communities across Ontario in fundraising and cancer awareness activities.
"It's really important to raise funds for paediatric cancer," Ashley said. "It's a harder cancer to work with than some of the other cancers. It's one that's got more aspects to it that we need to build fundraising and awareness on."
"The money raised helps with travel grants, so it's important to raise funds to help get them to the Sick Kids Hospital for the support that they need."
The Cops for Cancer event takes place Mother's Day weekend on May 7 at Intercity Shopping Centre.