Posted on February 6, 2009 by Tia Lalani

Augustana students helping in the fight against cancer.

by Dylan McConnell

Back in 2003, Gordon MacDonald had a dream: to spread awareness and make an impact in the battle against cancer, a disease that his 2-year old daughter Kali had been diagnosed with three years before. Specifically, Kali was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a disease that only chemotherapy could cure.

Of course, one of the things we all know about chemotherapy is the side effect of hair loss. According to the information provided by the “Hair Massacure” foundation, hair loss “can be a very devastating experience for a young child, as they cannot reason with the necessity of the [chemotherapy]. The results of Kali’s hair loss lead to a very weak self esteem. The treatment itself robbed a little girl of her formative years, drained her strength and energy, disabling her from a normal childhood with friends and playtime.”

This experience for Kali gave the MacDonald family a brilliant idea. They would encourage others to shave their heads in order to understand the traumatizing effects of chemotherapy, spread awareness of the disease and fundraise all at the same time. Once again citing, “$1,820,000 has been raised by the Hair Massacure for Edmonton and Northern Alberta” since 2003, largely through donations that people pledge towards having someone else’s hair removed.

Here at Augustana, three students are working to continue the success of this program. Since November of last year, Leanna Trefry, Kaitlyn Ganser and Maggie McBride have been organizing a Camrose chapter for this major fundraising campaign. For the 4th year in a row, Augustana students and members of the surrounding community will be invited to the school where they can make a donation, have their head shaved in the name of awareness, or merely watch others participate in the event.

Although the main event will not take place until the 12th of February (two days prior to Valentine’s Day due to weekend conflictions) the event has already begun to take shape. Several Augustana students have “pinked” their hair (as Leanna Trefry has termed the action) to gain awareness for the event itself. Eric Boles, a Resident Assistant at Augustana, has already made over $100 for the cause by removing his hideous push-broom moustache. “Change tins” can also be found at Lou’s Fashions, the Tangerine Hair Studio and at Augustana’s Coffee House and Cafeteria, where people may leave their loose change in a more traditional fashion.

Kaitlyn Ganser says that many of the residence floors on campus have joined in as well, nominating a “victim” for the massacre and donating pledges to egg them on towards losing their hair. “There are a few people who we know have been nominated. The floor with the most money donated to the cutting of the resident’s hair will be rewarded after the event” says Ganser.

There is a lot of optimism surrounding the event here on campus, and everything so far indicates that participation should be high. If you would like to participate in the event or just come watch, events will take place on February 12th at West Edmonton Mall from 9am-9pm, or right here in Camrose at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, 7pm in the foyer of the gymnasium.

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