Feb. 27, 2020

Cumming School first-years shave their lids for kids

Passionate students well on their way to ambitious goal of raising $50K for Kids Cancer Care

“I’m basically a sheep,” says Ian MacNairn, a first-year medical student at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). “I’ve only had one real haircut since 2005.”

MacNairn, BHSc’09, MA’12, PhD’19, got another one last week for a great cause: the Big Brave Under the Big Top Fundraiser was held Feb. 21 at CSM. This annual event is organized by first-year undergraduate medical students and is the faculty’s largest student-run fundraiser. All proceeds from this year’s activities will be donated to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta, a charitable organization that helps families fighting childhood cancer in Alberta.

“I let my hair grow long and shave it every three to four years for donation,” says MacNairn. “This time, I’m stoked that my shearing will benefit Alberta families affected by childhood cancer.” 

More than 150 people attended the carnival-themed event to play games and cheer on the brave group of students, faculty and staff who pledged to shave, cut or dye their lovely locks.

“Our goal is to raise $50,000 for Kids Cancer Care,” says Chidera Nwaroh, MSc’19, a first-year medical student who has volunteered with the foundation for the past six years. “I’ve seen first-hand the incredible work that the foundation does — from running summer camps and outreach programs to funding research that aims to move the field of pediatric oncology forward. I’m excited to have dyed my hair bright pink for such a great cause.”

Money was also raised by offering attendees the opportunity to “pie a prof.” Dr. Peter Lewkonia, MD, a clinical associate professor, volunteered to have his face smeared with whipped cream.

“After five years of torturing medical students in course two, I offered up my face for pie-shaped revenge,” says Lewkonia. “It was worth it. I’m very proud of our students for the hard work they’ve dedicated to this meaningful event.”

This year’s event has so far raised over $20,000. To help our CSM students reach their goal, visit the Big Brave donation page.