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UBCO Cut for the Cure raises $7000

Kurtis Spence, a second year engineering student, got his head shaved for cancer at UBCO on Wednesday by Plan B stylist Brett Kelly who donated his time, along with a team of stylists from the salon, to raise an estimated $7000 at the mass shaving and styling event. Students also donated their hair to have it made into wigs. - Jennifer Smith
Kurtis Spence, a second year engineering student, got his head shaved for cancer at UBCO on Wednesday by Plan B stylist Brett Kelly who donated his time, along with a team of stylists from the salon, to raise an estimated $7000 at the mass shaving and styling event. Students also donated their hair to have it made into wigs.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

Students on the Kelowna campus rally to raise the most money ever mustered in the event's five year history

Ten years ago, when he was in Grade 5, UBCO residence advisor Matthew Hoogveld followed his mother to chemotherapy appointments as she battled a squamous cell carcinoma, skin cancer, found in her tongue.

Over the three years she fought for her life, she made routine trips to hospitals and clinics. She had home visits from doctors. She took $500 medications Canada's universal health care system does not cover. She did a magazine shoot, raising awareness.

"All those expenses behind the scene, you just don't really know about them unless you've experience it," said Hoogveld, organizer of the most successful Cut for the Cure head-shaving and styling event the university has ever held.

For five years, the residence advisors on campus have been helping students donate their hair and raise funds for cancer patients by bringing a styling team on campus for donated cuts. The event helps new students get involved in campus life and it's a demonstration of how students and university graduates can make a difference in the world—a key theme on the campus.

"I'm not grieving that my mom has passed. I'm celebrating that she survived three extra years than the doctors said, and that those three years gave me the experience to put on an event like this," said Hoogveld, a human kinetics student.

Pulling in an estimated $7000 by mid-day Wednesday, Cut for the Cure filled the courtyard with students willing to shave their heads and chop off locks to be donated for wigs cancer patients will wear to achieve a little normalcy.

Sadly, many of those stepping up for the cause could name a loss that spurred their action, including Hoogveld, who also had a very close friend pass away from cancer two weeks ago.

"It was definitely a little bit more difficult waking up this morning to come to this event," he said. "But this is about coming together."

Many raised good sums. Chemistry major Kate Collins brought in $500 to lop the locks she has been growing out since Grade 10.

Jackie Girard, a second year nursing student, watched her brother shave his head as a teenager in honour of a close friend who passed away, at 11 years old, after an unsuccessful battle with the disease. Now working on the oncology ward at Kelowna General Hospital two days a week, she felt it was time to follow in his foot steps, cutting her long hair short and raising over $300 with the effort.

Kurtis Spence said he and his friends planned to be in the annual event last September in honour of their friend, Beth Hutchinson, who died of brain cancer earlier in the school year.

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