Julia Sahota could be saving a lot of money on shampoo come October.
On Sept. 30 when the Tour de Rock riders visit Millstream elementary for the first time, the gymnasium floor may well be littered with the principal’s hair. If it means the school raised $5,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tour de Rock to make it happen, Sahota wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I haven’t had short hair in a long time, but it is just hair. It will grow back,” she said.
Following her lead, 210 excited students, many of whom have pledged to empty piggy banks and take on additional chores to earn the money needed to reach the goal, have taken on the challenge of raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. The grand prize? An opportunity to send children with cancer to Camp Goodtimes.
“(Opportunities like this) give children an understanding of the needs of life beyond themselves and they can be empowered to make life better for others,” Sahota said. “I think for our students it’s a valuable lesson to learn as a young person and be a community member and a community leader. You can’t start that too young, as far as I am concerned.”
The fundraising has already begun and continues this Friday (Sept. 18), with students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 hosting a bottle drive. Another fundraiser encourages students to buy a strip of duct tape to stick the school’s vice-principal to a climbing apparatus, and raffle tickets are being sold with the prizes concert tickets to the Barenaked Ladies, the Tenors and Kelly Clarkson.
There’s even an ongoing run before lunchtimes in which students’ run distances will be totalled as a way to match the 1,000-kilometre route of the Tour de Rock journey.
“My brother-in-law died of childhood cancer; he fought the fight for a good five years. As a family we were with him and we weren’t able to save him and he passed away as a young adolescent,” Sahota said. “I have also had children in (our schools) fighting for their lives, and fortunately the students I do know survived … But we know from personal experience, not all do.”
Julia’s husband, Central Saanich police Sgt. Dillon Sahota, is riding in this year’s tour, the proceeds from which will help fund future medical advances.
If today’s technology were available 20 years ago, Julia said, it could have made a difference for her brother-in-law, so she endeavours to help further those the advances and do so hand-in-hand with the students at her school.
“When you give to someone else you are giving from your heart … For children, they are really engaged that they can do something.”