BY KRIS MANUEL
Many shoppers may have wondered why people were getting their hair cut in Stone Road Mall’s atrium Jan. 26. Those getting their locks shorn were participating in Cuts For Cancer Guelph’s fourth annual fundraiser.
The volunteer organization at the University of Guelph held the event to raise money for childhood cancer research. Some participants shaved their heads in support or donated their own locks to make wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair during treatment.
Ponytail donations had to be at least eight inches long, or 10 inches if they were colour-treated. The hair is donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths Canada or, if colour-treated, Locks of Love.
Event director Lisa Kellenberger, who is currently pursuing her PhD in cancer research, said, “Childhood cancer is an interesting one because it doesn’t get funded nearly as much as adult cancer, like ovarian cancer.” She said a student, a two-time childhood cancer survivor, came up to them the first year they ran the event and said she thought the charity was wonderful.
About 35 participants signed up for haircut sessions. There were also many walk-in participants who were brave enough to bear the scissors for a good cause, including Kamini Rajakumar and Rebecca Scott, who decided to cut their locks at the event because they said they thought it was a nice thing to do.
Others took the barber’s seat in support of a loved one affected by childhood cancer.
Among the brave was seven-year-old Avery Middleton who sported a new bob in support of her friend who was diagnosed with leukemia. This was her first time donating her hair and she said she enjoyed the experience.
Frances Hammond also braved a new cut for the cause while her family excitedly videotaped and photographed the special occasion. When asked why she came out to the event she said her son, Lucas, was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of four, but had finished his treatment.
The goal this year is to raise $15,000 for Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation. According to the foundation’s website, there are 10,000 children in Canada living with cancer and 1,500 cases are diagnosed each year. Also, one in four diagnosed children will die from the disease.
Shazya Ladak, donor-relations co-ordinator for the foundation, showed her support at the event. “We’re really excited to be here and really thankful to the Guelph community for supporting Childhood Cancer,” she said.
Cuts For Cancer has grown since it first started in 2010 at the University of Guelph, moving into bigger venues. Kellenberger started the organization when she moved to the city after completing her undergrad at Queen’s University, which has its own Cuts For Cancer event.
“I had my hair long enough the first year I came here and I expected there’d be an event but when I looked for one, there wasn’t. So I decided to start one; and it turns out there’s a lot of interest in it so it’s been growing every year.”
With smiles all around, the event is a fun way to get people’s attention and support a good cause. Kira Seki, who directed the event with Kellenberger, said, “People love it, they come by and think it’s such a good idea. They really get into it and it’s amazing.”
The University of Guelph’s mascot, Gryph, also made an appearance at the fundraiser to entertain visitors.
Donations are still accepted online through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s website. For more information on Cuts For Cancer and how you can help, visit www.cutsforcancerguelph.ca.
BY KRIS MANUEL