Razors were buzzing Friday at an east-end Toronto school where students and teachers shaved their heads in support of a classmate fighting cancer.
“Elina’s been going through a lot and she really needs us to show her love and support,” said one student who shaved her head.
“I kind of want to make her feel like she’s not alone,” said another student, touching her newly shaved head.
The initiative is in support of Elina Anker, a grade eight student at St. John Catholic school. Anker is currently at Sick Kids hospital battling diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
Her school wanted to show its support. Friday’s event officially kicked off a fundraiser with the goal to raise $50,000 for the hospital and Anker’s family.
Speaking from her bed at Sick Kids hospital, Anker said she was moved by the support from her friends and teachers.
“Honestly it’s kind of unbelievable, it doesn’t really feel real,” said Anker.
Anker has remained positive and outgoing despite her diagnosis. She’s jokingly named her tumour “Juan,” saying often “Juan be gone.”
Anker’s mother Dina has been by her bedside everyday and also shaved her head in support of her daughter, who will remain in hospital into the new year.
At the fundraiser a gymnasium full of students cheered as one student cut eight inches of hair for Wigs for Kids.
The school principal also joined in on the fun, allowing kids to duct tape her to the wall in exchange for donations.
“For one metre (of tape) they pay ten dollars, half a metre five dollars,” said Anne Martin from under layers of grey tape.
“I don’t know how much we have already, but you can tell I’m already sticking.”
It’s been an overwhelming and emotional journey for Anker. To her friends and teachers she had one simple message.
“I love you. That’s all I can say.”