Upcoming Donation Shave at Riverside Park

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Written by Caroline Elworthy

This upcoming weekend on Saturday 27, two U of G undergraduate students, Caitlin Kinsella and Sonali Menezes will participate in the selfless act of head shaving to raise donations and awareness for those affected by childhood cancer. The event, organized by U of G student, Evan Bleakney will be held this upcoming Sunday at Riverside Park in Guelph from 10am-2pm

The St Baldricks Association and the Canadian branch, Childhood Cancer Canada is a volunteer-based charity which equips volunteers with the tools to run fundraising events for pediatric cancer research in North America.  The charity is solely dedicated to funding childhood cancer research, their projected mission being to find cures for childhood cancers and to give survivors long and healthy lives. St Baldricks is the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, working tirelessly to give kids across North America access to the latest research and clinical trials.

For a community driven head-shaving events, the St Baldricks Association equips people all across North America with the organization and logistical skills needed to run an event. The Board of Directors at the St Balrdicks Association is volunteer based, and provides various tools for community-based volunteers across North America to successfully promote, hold and fundraise head-shaving and various awareness campaigns. The Association is run by committed individuals and volunteers across the country who are motivated to put working towards find a cure through collective community action and solidarity.

Bleakney was approached by Childhood Cancer Canada with the request to represent their organization at a community event as he received a scholarship from the association. A germinoma tumour survivor from February of 2012, Bleakney has twice undergone both chemo and radiation treatments. After experiencing the side-effect of losing his hair to this intensively draining treatment twice, and Bleakney knows exactly what those whom this event will be supporting are going through.

“For six months every day, I was going in and out of McMaster Children's hospital and I also stayed as an in as a patient a few times. I saw a lot of stuff there, but I can't remember one thing that was encouraging and uplifting. Most of the kids in that hospital were full of life. They played and screamed and laughed. The staffs were unlike any other human beings I've met. They are so kind, patient and gentle. It's amazing,” says Bleakney. “This is something that deserves to be recognized and respected. I'm a survivor so it goes to show that the scientific research that goes into these treatments works and is marvel of modern medicine”.

Bleakney has been in contact with Childhood Cancer Canada and the St Baldricks Society for a number of months who have a wealth of knowledge to share with any volunteers interested in running an event to set childhood cancer research in motion. “My job was to find a venue, which I finally did , find volunteers to run the event, find 'shavees' and advertise.” says Bleakney.

Catilin Kinsella, an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph is one of the volunteer "shavees" for Bleakney’s event this upcoming Sunday. “I was motivated to participate in this event because my good friend Evan is a cancer survivor, and he is the one organizing everything. I thought that was such a selfless thing to do, and I wanted to support him and take part in it” says Kinsella. “I think it’s important to know that you should not be afraid to make a statement, get involved, be bold if it can help other people.”

“I want people at my event to know that they are helping those happy, laughing, playing kids at McMaster Children's hospital and every other Children's Hospital in Canada get better,” says Bleakney. “I want them to get the opportunity to go to school and grow up normally and then hopefully end up at the U of G because this is the best school ever...obviously.”

            The event will be held this Sunday, September 27th at Riverside Park in Guelph. Any donations will be gratefully accepted at the event, and will all be donated to the Canadian Childhood Cancer and  St Baldricks Society, and from there be used to fund pediatric cancer research.

            Anyone interested in being involved in the St Baldricks Association, whether it be through organizing a community shave, or becoming involved in an ongoing shave can contact the organization directly at their website: www.stbaldricks.org

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