Over 14 years, the Hair Massacure has raised $12 million for pediatric cancer programs and research but the fundraiser won’t take place this year because contracts with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and Make-A-Wish aren’t being renewed.
The event began in 2003 as a way for the MacDonald family to give back after their youngest child, Kali, survived leukemia at age two.
It grew from a few dozen to a few thousand participants dying their hair pink and then shaving it off for the cause.
The MacDonalds are sad the event won’t be happening.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” Kali MacDonald said. “I’ve seen miracles happen, I’ve met amazing people, I’ve had opportunities that probably no other kid my age ever has and it’s just been so amazing to see people come together as they have. I’m truly thankful for that.”
“I’m very saddened by the end of this event. I think it’ll hit me more in February when I’m not seeing people running around with pink hair,” Kali said.
“As much as it saddens me and my family, I would truly like to wish Make-A-Wish and Stollery well. They really contributed to a big part of my life.”
In a statement, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation said in part:
“After taking time to reflect on the foundation’s future direction specific to this event, we have decided to discontinue our involvement with Hair Massacure,” director Martin Schuldhaus said.
“The reason for this decision is our 10-year commitment to the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI) and our funding priorities to invest in key pediatric researchers and priority research projects through WCHRI.
“This change in direction will allow the foundation to explore and provide other community fundraising opportunities in the years ahead with continued investment in research excellence, including oncology research, through WCHRI.
“The foundation is extremely proud of its participation in Hair Massacure over the years as we worked with our community partners to improve the experience for participants and lift the event to new heights. Most importantly, we take great pride in the profound impact we have made together on thousands of kids and youth – particularly in the area of pediatric cancer research – through the planning and execution of this wonderful community event.”
READ MORE: Annual Hair Massacure kicks off in Edmonton
Make-A-Wish also provided a statement, saying:
“Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta is proud to have been a part the of Hair Massacure event. We are grateful to the MacDonald family, volunteers, participants, and sponsors for their commitment, efforts and support of sick kids and their families in our community.
“The foundation’s contract with Hair Massacure has recently expired and we are not in a position to renew,” spokesperson Leanne Gullekson said.
“We are thankful for the years of partnership and wish the MacDonald family continued success in the future.
“We hope we can continue to engage the community in future events in support of our life-transforming mission, to make a very real difference in the lives of children fighting life threatening illnesses.”
The MacDonalds are hopeful the event will come back in the future and may even spread nationally.