• Carmen Marie Fabio

Girls step up for Shave2Save initiative

PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

(Left to right) Suzie Bowen, Jessica King, Sifirah Slaney, Emerson Brooks , Shannon Lee Devouge (back, in pink), Sydney Brooks, Abigayle Dumas, Regina (Oma) Brittain, and Natasha Menard are taking part in the upcoming Hudson Fire Department third annual Shave2Save fundraiser benefitting cancer research.

The April 30 Hudson Fire Department’s third annual Shave2Save fundraiser is quickly approaching and the number of girls and women taking part in this year’s event has jumped exponentially from last year with a total, so far, of nine gals prepared to shear off years’ worth of hair growth to both help make wigs for those undergoing cancer treatments and to raise funds for continued medical research.

“I attended the event last year with my daughter and this year, I decided to take part,” said Hudson resident Nathasha Menard who has worn her hair long for most of her life. While she won’t be one of the participants who’ll be ‘bicking’ – going completely bald via Bic razor – her long locks will be put to good use in crafting a wig for those going through chemotherapy.

“My boss at Cunninghams Pub just beat breast cancer not long ago,” said Jessica King who’ll also be donating the tresses that reach mid-back to the cause. “This is kind of in her honour.” King said she’s happy to provide the reciprocal support for the fire fighters and the community.

Sifirah Slaney, 12 years of age, has opted to go completely bald for the event after being inspired by her friend Emerson Brooks, one of only two females to take part last year along with her mom, Shannon Lee Devouge. “I wanted to do it last year but I thought I’d be embarrassed,” she said. “But after Emerson did it, I thought ‘I can do this’ so I decided to go for it.” Sifirah has, so far, raised $150 online but vows to start canvassing her neighbourhood for more donations.

Emerson’s sister Sydney held off cutting her long blonde hair until she had graduated from sixth grade.

“This year she asked if she could donate her hair,” said Devouge who, though no longer sports the 17-inch ponytails she donated last year, is again taking part in the upcoming event. “Now it’s the three of us. The family that shaves together saves together.”

Like last year, Emerson is taking part in memory of her grandparents who passed away from cancer and succinctly stated, “I want to kick cancer in the butt.” Collectively, the trio has raised $1500 as of press time.

This will mark the third year Hudsonite Suzie Bowen has donated her long red hair to the Shave2Save initiative. “I want to be able to make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. “I’ve been able to raise $450 so far and I’m fortunate to have such amazing people in my life to donate that much, that quickly.”

At 65, Hudsonite Regina (Oma) Brittain is the oldest of the women and plans to go completely bald for the event. “The works,” she laughed.

“My husband died of cancer 11 years ago,” she said, “and he fought cancer when our daughter Vanessa was nine months old.” Brittain also cites a hairdresser friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. “I’m doing it for her; I’m doing it for my husband and for all people that are sick with cancer.”

The youngest participant of the girls is 10-year-old Abigayle Dumas who cites her dad, firefighter Andrew Dumas, as inspiration. “When I was little, my dad got cancer and survived,” she said. “I want to do this for all the people who have cancer, or whose parents have cancer. I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t have my dad anymore. I want to support people so they can survive.”

The hair collected will go to the CanDonate program that provides wigs for free to cancer patients. Hair must be clean, dry, and secured at both ends in a braid or ponytail.

The goal this year is to surpass $8000 and the department welcomes everyone to come down and enjoy the festivities, including live music, face-painting and reptile displays for the kids, prize raffles, and tasty treats available for sale.

Châtelaine Salon & Esthétique stylists Terri Creagan, Tracy Gledhill and Katie Van Kessel will be donating their hair-cutting and head-shaving expertise. Come meet the team and have a great time while you’re at it. Fun starts April 30 at 1 p.m., 529 Main Road in Hudson. For more information, contact Andrew Dumas at (514) 513-3722 or to donate, consult convio.cancer.ca/goto/hfd2016.

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