Even in the mayhem of Destiny USA, it’s hard to miss Laurence Segal.
He puts a smile on the faces of those wandering the mall, but he’s aiming for more than that.
“I try to set out every day to show Central New York and Syracuse that there’s plenty of money for cancer research if we want there to be,” he said.
The money comes from Segal’s full time job- collecting cans and bottles from popular spots across Syracuse.
But he doesn’t keep a single penny. It’s earned him the nickname of “Can Man.”
He collects all year-round, but in October, the push becomes even greater. He’s had his mother, grandmother, aunts, cousins, and a best friend battle the disease.
Rod Roddy, Laurence’s best friend, died in 2003, two years after his diagnosis.
“It was just a miserable feeling watching him go through that,” Laurence added. “And the way he died, I’ll never forget it, the way he died from cancer, watching him suffer that way. It’s such a cruel, insidious, miserable disease, so I always say I’m equally cruel and miserable right back to it.”
His way to fight back is taking his treasure to Bottles End in Solvay, where he gets six cents for each bottle– all go straight to the fight against cancer.
“Every bottle I find is like a victory for people out there battling cancer,” he explained. “I love finding them because it’s like ‘there’s another 6 cents for cancer research’ so maybe some day it will end and nobody else will have to go through it.”
Through the work he does every day, Laurence has collected thousands of dollars for breast cancer research, but he’s now aiming for a world record.