By Katie Hobday
Over 140 people lost their locks in support of cancer research Wed., Mar. 31. The event, organized by Providing a Voice, a University of Calgary student-run organization, raised over $75,000, just under their goal of $100,000, to donate to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.
Last year 23 people shaved their heads in Scurfield Hall and raised close to $28,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, specifically in support of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.
This year things were bigger.
"This year we have over 130 people shaving their heads–students, faculty and the general public," said co-organizer Alyssa Dietrich. "We have a small army of student volunteers and an excellent webmaster helping us out this year. We have received a lot of support from the Student’s Union, particularly [Richard] Krafty [Bergen, SU Vice-President Events]."
Notable students who shaved their heads included Bergen, SU VP Operations and Finance Gavin Preston, and the Gauntlet’s Editor-in-Chief Lawrence Bailey and Production Editor Вen Li. The SU got involved when Bergen responded to a TLF in November .
"Eventually, after finding out more about them, I mentioned I was on the SU and could maybe help in getting the event going all over campus, which they were planning to do but didn’t know how to get the whole campus aware of it," said Bergen.
The head shavers were student volunteers from Delmar School of Hair Design while A-Channel’s Dave Kelly emceed a portion of the day’s events, sharing his duties with Bergen and fellow student Trevor Sawatzky.
"I am absolutely delighted that I was asked to be a part of such a worthy cause," said Sawatzky, who also volunteered at last year’s event. "I think an event like this will not only have a lot of benefits for cancer awareness and research, but will also inspire a lot of people within the school to realize what kind of positive impact they might have if they take some initiative."
"We’ve had a great response," said organizer Irfaan Sorathia. "We’ve had a lot of people show up on the day of the event. I’m kind of blown away right now."
While those who decided to shave their heads had different reasons for doing so, all agreed it was an excellent event for a great cause.
"My stepdad died of cancer nearly two years ago and my mom has had a number of benign cancer occurrences," recalled Bergen. "I’ve thought about shaving my head for a while, and this just really gave me a good reason to go out and do it."
James Fitzgerald didn’t mind losing his hair and beard, which he had grown specifically for this.
"I think it’s an excellent event," he said. "It’s for a good cause."
Chelsea Francis, whose thick dark hair fell below her shoulders, felt this event was for a worthwhile cause.
"My grandfather died of multiple cancers so I figured that this was something I needed to do," said Francis. "It’s pretty cool–the money raised will help a lot of people."
"This is the biggest head shave we’ve ever done," said Kristie Clark, Community Events Manager for KCCFA. "It takes a lot of courage to shave your head. It’s a huge show of empathy for these kids who are losing their hair and don’t have a choice."
KCCFA uses the money raised to offer summer camping programs to kids with cancer and their siblings, fund research into childhood cancer and provide clinical support for hospitals.