A team of residents is surrendering their pristine parts and bushy bangs to rumbling razors to raise funds for the ninth annual Balding for Dollars campaign at the Adventure Centre Saturday, May 2.
The local initiative demonstrates that bald is beautiful while raising an average of $20,000 for various cancer programs each year. This year, the event is raising money for family support programs, research, educational materials and medical supplies for the Cancer and Blood Disorder Program and Outpatient Clinic at BC Children's Hospital.
The thought of going smooth and polished is not as hair-raising as you might think, as about 100 local residents young and old succumb to shears each year, including 11-year-old Ryan Gilbert.
The Grade 6 Valleycliffe Elementary student has participated in the event for the past seven years after the school started running their own Balding for Dollars campaign to support then student Nicholas Gulycz, who was on his way to beating cancer at the time.
Gilbert said he has lots of hair ready to go this year, and he has set a fundraising target of $1,000, although usually he surpasses that amount.
"I just got a lot of support from people, and it was a lot of fun so I decided to keep doing it. It feels really good," he said, adding that it will feel even more special this year because his cousin recently recovered from Leukemia.
Balding for Dollars began buzzing locally when Cindy Turner-Gulycz set out to support her son Nicholas after he was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age four. Now 15, Nicholas is a healthy BC Winter Games gold medalist in archery.
For Turner-Gulycz, continuing the Balding for Dollars campaign is all about giving back to the cause that helped her family get through a difficult ordeal.
"Everybody is touched by cancer in some way," she said.
"We're supporting all the families that go through it and we're aware of the needs and what has to take place at the hospital. Having gone through it, we know what's needed so we just try to help out the next parents coming through and take some of the burden off."
Pledge forms are available at the Adventure Centre, The Chief newspaper and at www.baldingfordollars.com. Participants are welcome to shave their heads at the event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or independently.
There will be a barbecue and live music performed by The Jocelyn Band, 3rd Octave Down, Don Ross Jazz Band and Five on a String.