Sara Kaljuvee (left) carries the ball for Canada during the Pan Am Games women’s rugby sevens event. Canada won gold, with Kaljuvee, who lives in Saanich. Kaljuvee came through St. Francis Xavier’s Canadian university rugby 15s without playing 7s at that level when she was spotted for the national 7s program. (Contributed photo)

Women’s sevens players will be dying their hair bold colours for cancer

The team is encouraging fans to support the cause during the Series in Langford

The women’s sevens team is raising money for cancer research while hosting a stop in the series in Langford.

Sara Kaljuvee, Jen Kish and Hannah Darling will be dying their hair in support of the colour your hair to conquer cancer initiative by the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

The initiative invites Canadians to colour their hair this May and raise funds to help conquer cancer in our lifetime. The women’s sevens are encouraging fans who come to watch the games to show support by donning wildly coloured ‘dos.

Kaljuvee and Kish were approached by the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation to sit as honorary chair members of the foundation. Both of them were immediately on board and wanted to contribute as cancer is something that hits close to home for the athletes.

Kish said the women’s sevens have been engaged with fundraisers for many years and participate in fundraising for the Terry Fox Foundation and saw this as another opportunity to give back.

Kaljuvee’s mother, Lynne, passed away in 2016 after a 10-year battle with cancer. Kaljuvee was in Grade 7 when her mom received the diagnosis of breast cancer. Her mom underwent treatment, but was later diagnosed with bone and brain cancer.

Kaljuvee said she takes a lot of strength from her mom. She said training five or six days a week can be tough, but having a parent or loved one pass away from cancer is a humbling reminder that there are more difficult things in life. Kaljuvee said everything about her mother’s journey with cancer was inspiring “her fight, never giving up and wanting to be there for her children and her family,” she said. “As sick as she was, she instilled a lot of happiness in her children.”

Kish’s father was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2015, and is now in remission, but Kish said he suffers from some side effects as a result of the chemotherapy that will never go away. Her father received treatment overseas and was exposed to heavy chemotherapy drugs, she said. Kish hopes Princess Margaret will eventually be able to find less toxic ways to cure cancer.

Kish’s D]dad watched her win bronze at the Rio Olympics and that was something that was on his list. She said he is thankful to be alive, but he deals with his side effects such as numbness in his fingertips and toes and has a high propensity to blood clots, every day.

Kish set a team goal to raise $10,000 for the Princess Margaret Foundation, and a personal goal of $3,000 that will be included in the team target. Kaljuvee has a personal goal of $500 and said she just might shed some tears if she sees young girls in the stands with dyed hair during Mother’s Day weekend.

The message both Kish and Kaljuvee say is important in supporting this cause is to communicate to people that they are not alone.

If people are interested in making a donation to help the women’s sevens team achieve their goal, visit https://bit.ly/2HBw1NK.

lindsey.horsting@goldstreamgazette.com

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