It’s the time of year when you may see more Edmontonians with pink hair.
The 15th annual Hair Massacure got underway Monday morning with “pinking day,” where people dropped by locations around Edmonton to get their hair coloured pink.
Those supporting the cause are asked to keep the pink hair colour until Feb. 24 when they have their hair shaved off in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta.
“The two charities benefit from the event every year, and (for) Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta, the money goes towards supporting kids and their wishes throughout the year,” Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation communications director Martin Schuldhaus said.
“For the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, money goes towards supporting oncology research, so cancer research.”
Last year, around $1 million was raised during the event. This year, organizers are hoping to improve on that number, with a goal of raising $1.2 million.
Rather than dying their hair pink, there are also people who help the cause by growing their hair long before the fundaiser begins, then shaving and donating it so individuals undergoing cancer treatment can use it as wigs. Donated hair must be untreated.
“Other ways to get involved would be to volunteer at the event. We have over 200 volunteers to help us execute on the event day. And obviously pledge somebody and support somebody that is doing this,” Schuldhaus said.
The MacDonald family started the Hair Massacure in 2002 just as their youngest daughter, Kali, was finishing her third year of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with leukemia.
“I can’t believe the support that we’ve accumulated over the years and just the loyalty from the people,” Kali MacDonald said.
“It’s amazing to see everybody come together in support of a cause like this. Just trying to support kids who have not had it easy to put it in light terms.”
Kali is now almost 14 years cancer free. She plans to have 14 inches of her cut off this year to support the event that provided her support when she needed it most.
In its first year, 48 people took part in the fundraiser, raising $37,000. The event has raised over $11 million in its first 14 years.