Students cut it off for a cure

154 people raised $31,812.88 towards cancer research in Cuts for Cancer

Claudia Bello’s mother died of gastric cancer when she was 13 years old. Claudia, right, said cutting off her hair to raise money for cancer and organizing Cuts for Cancer at Queen’s helped her cope.
Claudia Bello’s mother died of gastric cancer when she was 13 years old. Claudia, right, said cutting off her hair to raise money for cancer and organizing Cuts for Cancer at Queen’s helped her cope.

Although the death of her mother has never been easy to accept, something helped Claudia Bello
cope with her loss.

Bello, whose mother died of gastric cancer when Claudia was 13 years old, is now the co-chair of Queen’s Helping Hands, which oversees Cuts for Cancer. “If my mom had never died, I wouldn’t be involved so heavily,” she said.

Bello has twice cut her hair for the cause, but that doesn’t mean she takes it lightly: Her mother had
to have her head shaved for her chemotherapy treatment. “It’s still really hard,” Bello said. “But it’s important to talk about and share the story to raise awareness.”

After her mother died, Bello, ArtSci ’08, organized a similar event at her high school in which students cut their hair and donated money to the fight against cancer. On Wednesday, 154 students decided to chop off their hair for the cause, with 113 making hair donations and 15 donating at least 10 inches as well as shaving their heads.

Diva Salon, Envy Salon, Maison Paul Coiffure, Nicole Pierre Salon, Pierre Amelotte International
and Signatures salon did the hair-cutting. The event raised $31,812.88 and countless inches of hair, including 10 inches of Bello’s own locks. “It felt very liberating,” she said. “It helped me to deal with
the loss.”

This was only a practice run for Bello, however, who said she wanted to eventually shave her head.
“I felt like I had to do this,” she said. “I worked up to shaving my hair—cutting my hair wasn’t enough.” During last year’s Cuts for Cancer event, Bello and her co-chair Natalie Causarano, ArtSci
’08, shaved their heads in front of hordes of people in the lower ceilidh of the JDUC.

“It’s crazy to think that people could be so attached to even an inch of hair, when people with cancer can lose everything,” said Causarano, who met Bello through Queen’s Helping Hands.

Although she admitted that getting used to having no hair was difficult, Causarano said it made her think about those who struggle with cancer.

“You have to deal with being bald and the fact that you have cancer,” she said. “[Shaving your hair] is a window into their experience.” Six years ago Queen’s student Susan Lee started Cuts for Cancer.
Lee raised $10,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society after making a bet with her friends that she could raise money—and awareness—by cutting off her hair. That year, more than $11,000 worth of hair was cut for cancer patients. Today, Cuts for Cancer events take place at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto, as well as Queen’s. Elysia Eno, ArtSci ’08, had a shirt made for the occasion, which displayed her favourite picture of her hair with “BEFORE” printed above the photo.

“It’s been two years since my last cut,” said Eno, who donated 11 inches.
“They don’t let people wear [hair] product for the cut, and I didn’t want people to think this is how I always wear my hair.” Eno said her uncle died from colon cancer last year. “I wanted to help people who are still living with cancer and make it a bit easier for them,” she said. For the first time, the event
was broadcast live on the event’s website at The hair donated to Cuts for
Cancer will go to Angel Hair for Kids, a Canadian organization that accepts donations of un-dyed hair
for children who have lost their hair as a result of cancer, severe burns or other traumatic experiences.

All dyed hair donated from the event will go to an American organization called Locks for Love.

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