Growing hair for a good cause at Cranford PD

CRANFORD, NJ — Twenty-three members of the Cranford Police Department participated in No Shave November and raised $5,600 for cancer research and education. This is the second year that Chief James Wozniak encouraged his officers to participate in this fundraiser.

According to the organization’s website, No Shave November’s goal is to grow awareness by embracing the hair, which many people lose due to cancer, and letting it grow. The money typically spent on grooming supplies goes to support cancer prevention education, saves lives and supports those fighting the disease. From a few dollars spent on razors to a few hundred dollars spent at the salon, money saved by growing out one’s hair can add up quite quickly.

The money ultimately benefits organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Prevent Cancer Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. To this date, No Shave November has raised a total of $5 million for these organizations.

This year, the Cranford Police Department utilized Facebook to raise the funds for cancer research. Their nickname, “The Fuzz,” added a competitive edge to the event, where teams worked together to raise funds and took pride in coming together for the cause.

According to a Dec. 1 press release, Wozniak applauded the fundraising efforts of the Cranford Police Department participants.

“Although it is unusual to see our officers in uniform with beards, it is a great conversation starter to raise awareness for a topic that undoubtedly affects all of us,” he said.

The officers used as many forms of communication possible in order to spread the word about their participation in the fundraiser. This lead to the collection of more than $5,000, which they donated.

“Many officers advertised what we were doing on their personal social media pages,” Sgt. Ryan Greco told LocalSource in an email. “We also told people about it through word of mouth.”

When attempts were made by LocalSource to contact Cranford Mayor Andis Kalnins, Deputy Mayor Mary O’Connor and Commissioner of Public Affairs Thomas Hannen Jr., none of them responded prior to press time.

Participants in No Shave November could also download and print a flyer to let the community know they are participating in the event. This is just another way that people could communicate their participation to the community. The event has been a tradition for many years, but in 2009 that the Chicagoland, Ill., Hill family decided to use it to raising money for charity, according to the organization’s website. The project held special meaning to the eight Hill children after their father, Matthew Hill, died of colon cancer in 2007.

“Our goal is to keep raising money for cancer prevention, education and research and to let that hair grow in the process,” the website said. “We want every participant to embrace their hair for the many cancer patients that lose theirs due to vigorous treatments. We believe that together, anything is possible, and we’ll get closer to eradicating cancer one whisker at a time!”