FOR THE CAUSE- Tony Ferreira

Students lose locks for a great cause

Participants at St. Francis of Assisi raise more than $21,000 for cancer society

Students at St. Francis of Assisi are learning the value in helping others and giving of themselves with whatever they have—including their hair.

This is the second year that St. Francis of Assisi has held a head-shaving event to support cancer research and the results were better than anyone expected. Thirty-two students, three teachers and one community member all joined together in the school’s main gym to lose some hair for a great cause.

The fundraising goal this year was to raise $5,000. By the end of the event the school had raised more than $21,000 in donations from members of the community.

It is starting to look like this may become an annual event at the school. After the head shave last year there were no immediate plans to hold another fundraiser but the motivation of the students made this year’s event possible.

Tony Ferreira, 12, a Grade 6 student at St. Francis of Assisi, shaved his head for the first time on Monday afternoon as teachers and classmates cheered him on.

As he rubbed his head where his hair used to be he said that he felt a little different, but that it was worth it.

“No matter how (my hair) is used it will make a whole lot of a difference for someone else and that makes me feel really good.”

The fundraiser is used in two different ways to help those dealing with cancer. First, the proceeds raised from sponsors goes towards supporting cancer research. Secondly, all of the shaved locks were collected by the Canadian Cancer Society of Alberta and will be used to make real hair wigs for those who have lost their hair to cancer treatments.

Kim Rideout was the community member who was involved in this year’s head shave. She was a guest of honour and she participated for a special reason; she is currently battling breast cancer.

Rideout was able to raise $6,650 with the loss of her hair. She said that she credits her fundraising success to her great network of friends.

“Everybody wants to help but they do not know how or what they can do to give back,” she said. “So this is just their way of giving back.”

Not only did Rideout’s friends help out financially, they also showed up at the school to cheer her on as she made the final step of losing her hair.

The loss of her hair was still a difficult step for Rideout to make. She made the progression to short hair in three steps. Three weeks ago she trimmed her hair to shoulder length, last Wednesday she took off another three inches and then on Monday she shaved the rest off.

Rideout said that she will not miss her hair because “It’s just one more step in the journey.”

Rideout has undergone one chemotherapy session and has five to go. She will then have 25 radiation treatments. Her 45th birthday will be Nov. 3 and she will be done all of her treatments by then and she will have a big celebration.

She is appreciative of all the people who are dedicated to helping find a cure for cancer.

“The kids, that went out of their way to do what they did, are just amazing.”

Kristie McCullough, a Grade 9 teacher at St. Francis of Assisi, said that it was the motivation of the students that got this project going. It was the kids that approached their teacher wanting to initiate this fundraiser.

“Once one got on board more and more decided to join in and the momentum started going.”

If the support of the cause continues McCullough thinks that there will be another head-shaving fundraiser next year.

treid@reddeerexpress.com