June 16, 2023

UCalgary medical undergrads put locks on the line for childhood cancer

Class of 2025 raises more than $25K in support of Kids Cancer Care
medical students, from left, Rav Dhaliwal, Vakkachen Joe and Emelie Kozak shaved and donated their hair in support of Kids Cancer Care.
UCalgary medical students, from left, Rav Dhaliwal, Vakkachen Joe and Emelie Kozak shaved and donated their hair in support of Kids Cancer Care. Calgary Medical Students’ Association

Are you ready to hear about a cause that’s a cut above the rest? The Cumming School of Medicine’s (CSM) Undergraduate Medical Education Class of 2025, the "Spiny Lumpsuckers," along with friends and staff, recently put their locks on the line by shaving, cutting or dyeing their hair in support of Kids Cancer Care.

The Big Brave! Head Shave, a yearly tradition hosted by University of Calgary medical students and the Calgary Medical Students’ Association (CMSA), raised a hair-tastic $25,629 on June 2.

Nimaya De Silva

Second-year medical student Nimaya De Silva co-organized this year’s Big Brave! Head Shave.

Nimaya De Silva

“Kids Cancer Care does so much for kids battling cancer and in supporting their families as they go through this difficult period in their lives,” says event co-organizer and second-year medical student Nimaya De Silva, BHSc’22. “I have had the opportunity to volunteer with Kids Cancer Care for the past few years and have seen the direct impact they have had on our community.”

De Silva and fellow second-year med student Akanksha Bhargava not only co-organized this year’s event at Foothills campus, but they also cut and donated their own hair to help make wigs and hair replacements. 

“Being able to participate in the fundraiser is an important way for me to express my love and support for the children and families facing the challenges of cancer,” says Bhargava. “I am so honoured to have cut my hair and organized this event to show our collective support as future health-care professionals.”

Akanksha Bhargava

Big Brave! Head Shave co-organizer Akanksha Bhargava.

Akanksha Bhargava

For more than 20 years, UCalgary medical students have actively supporting cancer care and research in Alberta through annual fundraising and head-shave events, and this year’s event had a lot to offer.

In addition to watching fellow students, staff members and friends either brave the clippers or dye their hair, attendees also participated in a henna station, bake sale and silent auction filled with items donated by more than 30 local businesses ranging from the Calgary Flames and Calaway Park to local studios, theatres and adventure activities.  

“All funds donated will go directly to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta. Every donation counts and will make a meaningful change in the lives of kids and their families battling cancer,” says Bhargava.

This year, the CMSA aims to raise $30,000 for the Foundation, a charitable organization that helps Alberta families at each stage in their cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.

Missed the mane event, but interested in supporting? Donations will close on June 19. Visit the link here to donate.