University of Calgary

$21,500 raised by medical students in head shave event

UToday HomeFebruary 26, 2013

By Marta Cyperling

Corrine McDonald lost one of her best friends to cancer six years ago. So when the first-year medical student at the University of Calgary had a chance to help raise funds for cancer research, she volunteered — head-first, so to speak.

McDonald was one of 17 students who shaved their heads in support of medical research. The event, organized by the first-year medical school class, raised $21,500 for the Canadian Cancer Society towards the research and treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.

McDonald, one of three females participating in the event, decided to donate her long hair and then shave off the remainder as a way of honoring her friend. “I’ve donated my hair twice in the past but it’s the first time I’ve followed up with shaving it,” she says.

McDonald made the event a family affair as she was joined by her husband, three children, parents and two family friends — all of whom helped cut off her hair.

The event is part of a larger annual initiative by the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, where medical schools across Canada raise funds for a cancer charity.

Amanda Schouten, a medical student who helped organize the event, says the University of Calgary might be the only school to do the head shave as a fundraiser.

“This is the medical students’ biggest fundraiser of the year,” she says.

“It’s up to the students at each school to decide how they will fundraise and for which charity — as long as it benefits a charity that supports cancer research and treatment. This year we chose GI cancers, as much of our first clinical learning, and exposure to patients as new medical students, was in this area,” she says.

A representative from the Canadian Cancer society spoke at the event, as did a recent cancer survivor who talked about her experience battling the disease and her journey through medical treatment.

About 80 students and those passing by stopped to watch the event and cheer on the participants.


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