Hair Massacure’s head gets a crown

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MacDonald wins YWCA Women of Distinction award

As the organizer of the St. Valentine’s Day Hair Massacure and the driving force behind many domes going from bright fuchsia pink to complete baldness, Tammy MacDonald was recently named the winner of the Turning Point Award at the YWCA Women of Distinction gala ceremony.

This accolade is given to an outstanding woman in the community who has gone through trying circumstances and been able to turn it into an overwhelmingly positive force in the world. Having been ‘pinked’ and seeing the whole thing unfold once already, there’s no denying MacDonald’s humility and grace in trying times. Putting on a months-long fundraising drive and ending with a day-long charity event at West Edmonton Mall’s Ice Palace would drive others to tears, but MacDonald balks at the pressure for a very good reason — she’s seen worse.

The Morinville woman began and nurtured the annual community event in response to her own daughter’s chemotherapy treatment for cancer. She has taken a personal struggle and made it a public mission. With the help of hundreds of participants from schoolchildren to Oilers’ hockey players, the Massacure has raised almost $3 million for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation since its inception in 2003.

Despite years in the spotlight, she neither seeks out nor expects recognition. The win, just like the news of the nomination, came to her right out of nowhere.

“I was at a loss for words, which doesn’t happen often. [The nomination] was hard for me to get my head around that, very hard,” she admitted. “There were people like Dianne Young (former CEO of the Stollery) up there too and I just thought, ‘I just do what I do.’ Still it was hard … it is a huge honour to get nominated for that.”

She said the award means a lot to her because it represents another way for women to prove the value of their work by showing its worth. MacDonald intends to keep the ball rolling.

“It certainly gave me an idea to nominate someone else for next year because I didn’t really know about it very much. I do actually have somebody in mind. I would like them to experience what I experienced. Women fall through the cracks all the time and they’re doing great things. Only a few of us are chosen out of the ones that silently do their thing every day. For that I was sad because there’s a lot of unsung heroes out there that would never have this opportunity.”

The YWCA works to create strong, inclusive communities that value women’s perspectives. Its annual Women of Distinction Awards are held to recognize visionary women who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the community. It honours women of all ages, from all fields of work and walks of life in 12 categories.

For more information about the organization or the awards, call 780-423-YWCA (9922) or visit www.ywcaofedmonton.org.

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Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.