December 1, 2021

Be on the lookout for ‘the fuzz’

Cortland police to skip shaving to raise money to fight cancer

Sarah Bullock/staff reporter

If Cortland Officer B.J. Byrnes, or any other Cortland police officer, looks a little shaggy this month, it’s because they’re raising money for pediatric cancer research and support, inspired in part by a little girl.

The Cortland Police Department’s men are a little scruffy this month, but the ladies’ nails are fabulously pink.

Male officers are growing beards to raise funds for pediatric cancer support, activities, research and more as part of No Shave November, said Jeff Fitts, president of the Cortland Police Benevolent Association.

Female officers are painting their nails pink. Most of the department is taking part.

While many no-shave November efforts often aim to support men’s cancers, this year the union was inspired by a little girl dealing with cancer, Fitts said.

The department made the little girl an honorary member, he said; they call her Officer J.

“She’s just a real kind soul,” Fitts said. “We wanted to do it for kids.”

Officer J joined the women officers when they went to a nail salon together, according to the Cortland PBA Facebook page.

The effort has raised a bit more than $2,000 of the union’s $5,000 goal. Several businesses have contributed.

To help
You don’t need to stop shaving, but you can support the effort at

All of the money goes to Paige’s Butterfly Run, a Syracuse-based nonprofit that collects money for the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse. The charity was founded 20 years ago in honor of Paige Yeomans Arnold, a 7-year-old girl treated at the center who died of leukemia in 1994.

“The butterfly was selected as a symbol,” according to the charity’s website, “not only because she (Paige) was so fond of them, but because they typified her: beautiful and gentle, but strong beyond imagining.”

Paige’s Butterfly Run has raised more than $3.7 million for the cancer center since 1997, according to the charity.