By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Ninth Annual St. Valentine’s Day Hair Massacure is now underway and organizers are looking for big things again this year for the charity that has raised money for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and Make-a-Wish Northern Alberta in recent years.
“We hit the million last year and we’re hoping to again exceed – as we do every year – our previous total,” said Hair Massacure Director Tammy MacDonald.
The annual event began in Cardiff and Morinville in the fall of 2002. Macdonald’s daughter, Kali, who is now 12, was undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the time.
“We were all very distraught because [in] Kali’s third year of treatment she had another bought of hair loss, which we weren’t expecting,” MacDonald said, adding Kali’s father Gordon wanted to do something and took the idea of a head shave to Canada Post where he worked at the time. “We did have some local people and friends that did accompany.”
In its first year, 42 people had their heads shaved, raising $37,000 for the Kids with Cancer Society.
“It was really just to honour the kids,” MacDonald said. “We met so many kids that had lost their hair or even lost their battle. So it was really an event primarily to honour the kids, secondarily to raise money.”
Seven years later and the 2010 Hair Massacure saw 1,500 people shaving their heads and raising $1 million for the cause, $75,000 of which was raised in Morinville. Georges H. Primeau School raised $35,000, earning them second place in the schools competition.
Expanding charities supported
Not only is the Hair Massacure looking to expand its end figures this year, it will be spreading those donations farther in 2011. MacDonald said in addition to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Hair Massacure has added Ronald McDonald House to the charities supported through the annual event. Ronald McDonald House is a charitable organization that provides low-cost accommodations to family members whose children are in hospital.
MacDonald said participating McDonald’s restaurants from Grand Prairie to Red Deer will be selling paper Kali Bears for $1 each, money that will go to the Hair Massacure but will be allocated back to Ronald McDonald House. Additionally, Ronald McDonald House will receive one third of anything the Hair Massacure receives in excess of $1 million in donations.
“We just thought that [Ronald McDonald House] was a great fit because we’ve got research from Stollery, we’ve got wishes [from Make-a-Wish], and now we’ve got accommodations,” she said.
MacDonald said the traditional pinking will take place Jan. 10 and will be televised on Breakfast Television starting at 7 a.m. The star of the segment will be the Hair Massacure’s pink-coifed poodle Fred, who will receive his annual pinking in Morinville Friday afternoon.
Anyone wishing to become involved in this year’s event can do so by registering online at www.hairmassacure.com or by picking up a pledge package at Crazy Clips in Morinville. Packages are also being distributed to Morinville schools.
Traditionally, an individual who wants to help the charity picks up a pledge package, gets their hair pinked, collects sponsorships, and then gets their hair shaved off in a mass event held at the West Edmonton Mall Feb. 11. MacDonald said more and more people are getting involved in groups, whether it is companies, schools or families.
“It is really a family event that everyone can get involved in,” she said, adding people can get their hair pinked at GV’s Hair Salon in Morinville or by purchasing a can of Kali Pink hair dye at Sobeys in Morinville.
MacDonald said she’s grateful for the continued support from Morinville.
“It’s really nice to know that our town has supported us to this level so many years,” she said. “Nine years in and we’re still seeing this level of support. It really, really means a lot to our family.”