St. Albert starting to turn pink
Hair dye in big demand as city gears up for Massacure
Friday, Jan 28, 2011 01:30 pm
When it comes to fighting cancer and raising money for charity, many St. Albertans are putting a lot on the line. Their hairline, that is.
There are less than two weeks left before the main event of the St. Valentine’s Day Hair Massacure and there are many new pink hairdos adorning the heads of school kids all over town and even the province. The event, now in its ninth season, gets people to dye their hair in a bright fuchsia colour before they lose their locks in a massive head shave that takes place every year at the Ice Palace in West Edmonton Mall.
On Thursday, almost 100 elementary students from Leo Nickerson School, along with their teacher and parent chaperones, got into the spirit. They got a break from regularly scheduled classes to walk down Cunningham Road to visit the cosmetology students at Paul Kane High School. For many, it was their first hair dye and also their first experience in humanitarianism.
Just because they’re sitting in barber’s chairs and not desks doesn’t mean they weren’t learning. For Grade 1 student Cason Kolodychuk, it was an object lesson about working to improve the world for all.
When he first pitched the fundraiser idea to his mother Lisa, she had to get him to appreciate the magnitude of his action, that one small act can change someone’s life and not just the colour of your hair. She said it didn’t require much deliberation.
“He took a big interest in it. I said to him, ‘It’s something serious. You can’t just do it for fun,’” she began, adding she would only agree to let him participate if he raised at least $100.
They researched the cause together and learned that it was all to benefit the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern Alberta and the Ronald McDonald Foundation of Northern Alberta. It all started with the MacDonald family of Morinville when their two-year-old daughter Kali developed acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Kolodychuk explained to her son that 1,400 people die every day from all cancers, the equivalent of three full populations of his school. That sombre note only fuelled his passion and he ended up collecting $140 from his sponsors. Not only that, his preschool-aged sister Gracey joined him to get her hair done too.
That greatly pleases Tammy MacDonald, the organizer of the Hair Massacure.
“That’s the best part of the event, next to the money. It’s all about kids, right? If we’re not helping sick kids then we’re also helping kids to think beyond themselves. We’re empowering them. We’re helping them become better citizens.”
She said that this is why her event continues to grow every year — positivity is infectious and the benefits are endless. It even encourages teamwork with school groups.
“I like to see that part because the kids get really excited. They’re having fun but they’re making huge differences.”
Since its inception, the Massacure has raised more than $4.6 million and continues to broaden its reach to new communities both inside and outside the province. This will be the second year for of participation for Red Deer. That city’s introduction to pinking last year saw more than 250 participants bring in $36,000.
To learn more about it or to get involved, please visit www.hairmassacure.com.
Lawyer wigs out with hair donation
Prominent city lawyer Farrel Shadlyn spent almost two years growing his hair in anticipation of cutting it off to benefit a charity that supports cancer patients going through chemotherapy. Such people frequently experience hair loss and Shadlyn only wanted to show them that he’s got them covered.
“I saw a colleague of mine with long hair and I asked him about it, thinking that he was growing his hair long for fashion. He told me he was growing it long for a cancer patient. I thought it was a great idea and he said, ‘I don’t think you can do it because your hair is grey.’”
As it turned out, he could and a rare grey wig greatly pleases the people at the Canadian Cancer Society.
“They said, ‘We’d love to have it if you have grey hair. We just don’t get very many people who are elderly or middle aged with grey hair that will grow their hair long.’ So that was it.”
According to the charity’s website, it takes approximately 12 donations of unprocessed hair and costs about $1,200 in order to create just one hand-sewn wig for a child.
To extend his efforts, Shadlyn asked his colleagues with the Rotary Club of St. Albert to chip in with donations at their regular breakfast meeting yesterday. Two stylists donated their time to shear his lofty locks and take a load off of his mind. As the final follicle fell, the tally came in at almost $2,500. Afterward, he expressed an interest in doing it all over again, saying it “takes almost no effort.”
To learn more about this charity and support organization, please visit www.cancer.ab.ca.