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BC Children's Hospital fundraiser brings in nearly $19,000

Balding for Dollars organizers plan to step down after successful decade

Thanks to a couple dozen shaggy-haired kids and adults willing to sport shorn heads this spring, the 10th annual Balding for Dollars fundraiser raised $18,835 for the BC Children's Hospital on Sunday (May 16).

While eager kids sat in one of three barber chairs outside the main entranceway to the Adventure Centre, a few moms proclaimed their sons hadn't cut their hair all year in preparation for the charity fundraiser.

Surrounded by a swarm of parents and kids, two Scouts Canada leaders grabbed a seat and watched as their hair landed in their laps.

Organizer Cindy Turner said she was impressed with the support from the community, which hasn't waned even after a decade.

"It might even be a little bit bigger than last year," she said.

Organizer Cheryl Gordon said the people of Squamish have been good to her and her family, especially when her son Bryan was first diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1990s.

"Squamish is always a great community. I mean they're very giving," said Gordon.

"When my son was sick when he was first diagnosed, this whole town raised funds for a trust fund and it paid for all his medicines that weren't covered, so that's why I do it."

Turner said the cash raised during Balding for Dollars is allocated to help pay for anything from feeding tubes for sick kids and hospital parking passes for family members to medications and fun excursions for the recovering patients.

"When it comes to kids, you just want to help them," Turner said.

"With all the cutbacks and what not, they need all the help they can get in the health department."

Since the inception of the local Balding for Dollars branch the community has donated an estimated $300,000 for youth battling with cancer and blood disorders.

A few years ago the organizers bought a van from the District of Squamish to transport kids to the teen adventure camps organized by the hospital five times a year.

Some proceeds are also earmarked specifically for research on children, cancer and blood disorders but Gordon said the fund plays another crucial role in the lives of the affected children and youth.

"Let them have fun, help out where things aren't covered. It fills in that gap."

After 10 years of planning, organizing and fundraising, Gordon and Turner said it's time to leave this branch of Balding for Dollars for someone else to steer.

"We're waiting for someone to step up and recruit it, but we still want to be involved with the cause," said Turner.

Although Turner said she might volunteer with another organization she joked leaving Balding for Dollars might be more difficult than either know.

"We'll see when it comes time to quit whether we can actually do it or not."

Turner said the sad reality of the fact is most people have to be affected by childhood cancer and blood disorders before feeling compelled enough to join the ranks.

"There's always some connection to it. Usually how it goes is it's somebody who's been involved with the children's hospital and so they see what's needed."

Although experiencing illness isn't a pre-requisite for the new organizer, Turner said the lead volunteer should be driven to change the lives of others.

"Just the will power to make a difference and to help out."

Turner thanked many individuals and groups who have consistently showed support for the Balding for Dollars fundraiser, including Cut'n Loose hairdresser Fiona Hahn, Scouts Canada, the Don Ross Secondary School jazz band, The Bluesberry Jam, Third Octave Down, Five on a String and the Overcomers, just to name a few.

Gordon said the supporters in Squamish are truly one of a kind.

"This is a great community. They are so generous and they're great people. I've been here for 20 years and I'll never move. They always give from the heart here."

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