Betty Gobolos is one of the fortunate few who has never lost a friend or loved one to cancer, but this year she’s taking it upon herself to raise money for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCHF).
Her inspiration? A young boy named Michael who was travelling with his parents on a Mexican cruise.
“I was just sitting there (on the cruise ship) and seeing this little boy, and I thought that it was odd that he wasn’t in the play area,” says Gobolos of her trip a few years ago. “When [Michael’s mother] told me they were on that last cruise because he had spent so much time in the hospital and they didn’t know how long he was going to live.
“I haven’t had that in my lifetime, any experience of knowing a child that died,” she says, her eyes filling with tears. “To know that maybe this little boy was going to die… it was very emotional.”
Gobolos says Michael’s mother also asked her if her long hair was natural, free of dye, perms, or other chemicals. Gobolos said it was, and Michael’s mother suggested she donate it to an organization that makes wigs for young cancer patients.
Gobolos is now a supporter of Wigs for Kids, a non-profit organization that provides wigs, feeding supplies and medications not covered by B.C.’s Medical Services Plan for kids and teens.
To donate hair, it must be a minimum of eight inches in length, with about eight ounces of hair required to make one wig.
But with as many as 20 to 30 people needed to make a single wig, Gobolos knows she needs help.
“Being a limousine driver, I mention it all the time. I must have given out about 100 cards, my personal cards… and I’m running out of cards,” she says, laughing.
On Dec. 19, 2011 Gobolos made an appearance on CityTV’s Breakfast Television to cut her hair and raise awareness for her cause.
“She’s very passionate about supporting Wigs for Kids,” says BCCHF philanthropy officer Angela Crowther. “She’s donated her hair for wigs for many years and now she’s wanting to organize this larger fundraiser and not just collect hair, but also is looking to raise money for the hospital as well.”
Gobolos’ North Delta home is currently full of items she plans on selling at her upcoming garage sale, and the neighbourhood will be contributing items as well.
The sale will be held at 11844 84A Ave. on April 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All proceeds will go to Wigs for Kids.
Anyone interested in contributing garage sale items, donating their hair or simply making cash donations can contact Gobolos at firstname.lastname@example.org