Shave it or Save it, Let the People Vote
Donna Andres and Branin Thompson (MacLeod) with the cheque for $1678.15.
Branin McLeod, Occupational Therapy Supervisor at the Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre often sees and experiences firsthand, the need for supplemental funding for healthcare. She explained that if we want healthcare programs and services in our community to meet societal expectations it is often not possible with base government funding. That is when the community has to step up.
March 3, 2011 was a very sad day for Branin when she learned her “Aunty Cynthia lost her battle with cancer. She died in her home, in the arms of her best friend and husband, Dave LaRose. She left behind a daughter, a son and 4 grandchildren...she was only 51.”
It was these moving events that motivated Branin to want to do more as she was entering her 3rd year campaign to raise money for people touched by cancer. She wanted to continue to raise funds to help fight cancer but she also wanted to support healthcare in Wetaskiwin. “I decided to up the anti at my 3rd campaign by running a ‘Shave it or Save it’ fundraiser. One thing my family and friends love about me is my hair. So if I offered up my hair people would be motivated to support the causes. The idea behind ‘Shave it or Save it’ was people would not only be donating money to a great cause but also putting in a vote for whether I ‘saved’ or ‘shaved’ my head. If a donor wanted me to ‘shave’ my head they would put their money towards the ‘shave it’ fund and if they wanted to ‘save’ my hair, then the donation went to the ‘save it’ fund. Many would see this (her Aunt’s death) as a desperately sad situation but just as in life, my Aunt wished her passing to be a celebration. So in her memory I dedicated my annual Ultimate Fun Challenge road rally and camp out fundraiser to her. Half of the monies would go to the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation (my charity of choice) and the other half to the Prince Albert Chemotherapy department at the Victoria Union Hospital. My Aunt was always proud of her Scottish heritage (nee McLeod) so in her honour we themed this year’s fundraiser ‘Highland Games’ where all the challenges had a Scottish flare.”
Friends, hospital staff, and even patients got into the ‘shave it’ or ‘save it’ battle. As the competition heated up, so did the support for two very worthwhile causes. “In the end, the final proceeds were counted at midnight at the Ultimate Fun Challenge and all together $3356.29 was raised with each of the two charity’s receiving $1678.15. An independent tally of the funds raised, acknowledged that only five dollars separated the ‘Save it’s’ from the ‘Shave it’s’. In spite of the fact the majority of donors reigned in the favor of ‘Save it’ my cousin (my aunt's daughter) and I decided to acknowledge all those who supported the ‘shave it’ side. We cut off our long hair for a pixie” hair cut in honor of how much my Aunt loved fairies.”
Donna Andres, Vice Chair of the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation gratefully accepted the cheque for $1678.15 from Branin. The money will be designated to the current fundraising campaign to support healthcare in Wetaskiwin. She explained, “Branin came to the Board and when she proposed this campaign we supported her efforts by donating to the cause and advertising throughout the Hospital.”
Branin concluded by stating, “We are happy to be putting money to something good in our community.”