NEW YORK (WWTI) — The founder of Bald for Bucks, Tony George was presented with a New York State Senate Commendation Award on October 1 in Angola, New York.

The idea behind the organization is to show support for those fighting cancer by individuals shaving their heads and collecting donations. All of the funds benefit cancer research and patient care at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The inspiration for the organization came from George’s own personal experience with the disease. When George’s sister was undergoing chemotherapy to combat breast, lung, and brain cancer in 2002 he decided to shave his head to show his support for his sister as she battled against cancer in her body.

At the time he was working as a teacher at Lake Shore High School in Angola. When he told his students what he was planning to do, they began collecting donations which eventually raised $3,6000.

When Cathy passed away in 2004 the George family decided to help others that were struggling with the disease by starting the Bald for Bucks organization. Since then the concept has become an annual spring event for schools and organizations throughout the region that has raised more than $6 million. The funds raised go directly to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation to benefit cancer research and patient care at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The award was presented by New York State Senator Sean Ryan on October 1 and recognizes “exceptional individuals who have made a dedicated and lasting contribution to their community,” which George has subsequently proved since starting the organization.

New York State Senator Sean Ryan said the award is well-deserved after all the organization has accomplished over the years.

“I’m proud to visit Lake Shore High School, the birthplace of Bald for Bucks, to present Tony with the Senate Commendation Award. His love for his sister, Cathy, inspired his students to take action,” Ryan said. “Their compassion, in turn, kicked off a movement that is still making a difference in our community nearly 20 years later. This is a well-deserved honor, and it reflects the monumental impact that Tony has had on Western New York.”

Donations can be made towards the organization’s cause on the Bald for Bucks website.