Bald is beautiful, cancer ugly

By Вen Li

For the third year in a row, students will get the chance to raise money for cancer. Last March, 125 people at the University of Calgary shaved their heads to raise $80,000 for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.

“If we can get the same number again, that would be awesome,” said event organizer and former U of C student Irfaan Sorathia. “We’re taking a lot of stuff we’ve learned in previous years and applied it this year.”

With help from classmates at Mount Royal College and U of C Students’ Union Vice-President Events Alex Vyskocil, Sorathia has expanded the event to include MRC, and hopes to finalize plans to include SAIT by the end of this week.

Fifty people have already signed up for MRC’s fundraiser, which Sorathia hopes will generate $30,000-40,000 in pledges. At the U of C, 25 people have pledged to lose their locks.

“Word of mouth has been the best form of support for us,” said Sorathia. “Whatever time or money you can give is great, every little bit helps.”

Sorathia recognizes that many students think they’re too busy this time of year to fundraise for cancer. He notes that the lack of fixed deadlines, fundraising quotas and time commitment make this fundraiser ideal for busy students.

“You don’t need to set time aside for it,” he said. “You can do this with one or two minutes with your friends or prof during the day.”

He hopes that increased awareness of the prevalence of cancer will encourage students to participate in the fundraiser.

“Recent stats say one-third of Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes; one-quarter will die,” said Sorathia. “The number of victims is only going up in the future. It’s something that’s affected everyone. It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been affected by cancer.”

Sorathia encourages student groups to compete with each other to raise the most money as they did last year. For next year, he hopes to expand the challenge to universities across Western Canada, and eventually to all of Canada.

“We got a lot of comments from people in B.C. wanting to know if there were similar events in their area,” said Sorathia. “Next year, I’d like to expand it to at least the U of L and U of A and into B.C.”

This year, participants will also get to choose from one of three cancer-related charities. In addition to KCCF, participants may direct their pledges to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre or the Canadian Cancer Society.

The headshaving event takes place on March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the MSC North Courtyard. For more information, visit

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