Dozens of students and staff packed the gymnasium at École St. Margaret School in Moose Jaw on Friday afternoon, as a teacher, her husband and a student cut their hair in support of Cuts for Cancer.
Grade 2 teacher Mme. Ethier and her husband Walter took part in the event, as did Grade 8 student Griffin Hender. Students and staff at the school far exceeded their goal of raising $500. The final total came in at around $4,000.
"We're fundraising so that we can send some money to an organization in Regina that's called Wigs For Kids," explained Mme. Ethier. "They take virgin hair, not dyed, no colour taken out, or no colour added, and so they'll take that and we're also donating half of the proceeds to them so that they can help a child get a wig. The hairdresser that I saw yesterday thinks that from mine we should get about three or four. Griffin is probably going to get us two wigs, and Walter, well, it's just hair falling on the floor."
The other half of the proceeds are going to a family in Moose Jaw, which will be chosen by the Canadian Cancer Society in Regina. The money will be used to purchase gift cards for gas, groceries and restaurants.
This will be the fifth time Mme. Ethier has cut her hair in support of cancer. She's been growing her hair for about three and a half years in preparation for Friday's event, which left her with hair just below her ears. The official cutting was done by family members while Griffin's hair was cut by some of the teachers at the school. Walter's hair was shaved off by professional hairstylist Beckie Andrews-Ofstie.
Mme. Ethier held back tears as she shared why she got involved in this particular cause.
"I had a little boy in my class in Grade 2 many years ago and he came to school with a bump on his arm and then we talked to mom and dad and he was diagnosed with cancer shortly after...He didn't make it. He made it to grade 6 and he was an incredible kid. One that everybody wants in their class. So giving, so caring, so good. So we're doing it in memory of him. My dad passed away this fall and my husband's dad passed away a long time ago, all from cancer. Anybody's that involved with this, the cutting or the organization of this, has somebody that's succumbed or won. We have had a few teachers that have had cancer and they beat it, they're the lucky ones and we're lucky because they're still here with us."
Griffin had grown his hair to about 14 inches in length, with only a couple of inches remaining after all was said and done. His last haircut was about three years ago.
"I decided to cut my hair because in my past I had a run-in with cancer," he said. "Luckily, it went well and since I got through cancer, I could grow my hair out, I decided that I should cut it for other people."
Griffin noted it was weird not to have long hair anymore, adding the plan is to grow it back again.
Mme. Ethier gave a big thank you to the school community for making the event a big success.
"Without the community that is hooked up to our community, we wouldn't have been able to raise this money. We are so thankful for everybody that brought money in and that donated and just that sent little notes here and there, 'Good job, you're doing a great thing'."
-with files from Jordan Rivers/Discover Moose Jaw