It was a close shave.
For a couple of weeks, students at Bayridge Elementary were on tenterhooks, wondering whether they’d raised enough funds through pledges to this year’s Terry Fox Run (which took place Sept. 15) to make sure that two teachers at the school would get the close crop they’d promised.
But the wait was over at a special assembly at the school Friday (Sept. 27) when the hair of Grade 7 teacher Simon Murti and kindergarten-Grade 1 teacher Shelly Kent-Snowsell went under an electric razor expertly wielded by Alaina Leighton of Gossip Hair Salon.
“We kept the kids in suspense all through the week,” Murti chuckled, following his extreme trim. “They kept coming up to us asking whether we’d raised enough money, but we wouldn’t tell them.”
He explained that the school’s original goal for this year – $1,000 – was raised within four days of the start of campaign, so he added another challenge: if pledges raised another $2,000, he’d get his head shaved.
“As soon as Shelly heard about it, she stepped up to volunteer, too,” he added.
With the funds raised reaching more than $3,800, it was clear the second goal would be reached, and the shaving could commence.
After Murti screened a video for the children on Terry Fox – the amputee whose historic 1980 cross-Canada run to raise funds for cancer research began the annual tradition – the razor and a chair appeared quickly.
And then, to the delighted screams of the entire school population, the locks began to fall.
“It was my second year of doing the Terry Fox Run, but the first time I volunteered to have my head shaved,” Murti said, adding that he has been a passionate supporter of the drive for some six years, since encountering a young boy in remission during his first year as a teacher.
“He’s in Grade 10 now and cancer-free,” he said.
“I love Terry Fox and what he did – he’s the definition of a hero. For me, this is not so much about the individual challenge goal – it’s about raising school spirit and coming together for a good cause.”
Holding a length of her newly-shorn blond hair, Kent-Snowsell explained that she has no hesitation in raising funds for cancer research.
“I’m a survivor and my husband is a survivor – and we both used to be counsellors at Camp Goodtimes (the Maple Ridge-based summer recreation program for children and teens affected by cancer).
“This isn’t the first time I’ve had my head shaved, either,” she noted. “I’ll do whatever I can to raise money for (cancer research).”
The students were disappointed in only one aspect – in spite of their shouts, Murti’s beard did not succumb to the razor.
“I told them that if that was going to happen, they’d were going to have to raise a whole lot more money,” he laughed.