Hair Massacure aims to change kids' lives

Students donate hair at annual event to raise money for Make-a-wish foundation

Brittany McLellan, ArtSci ’12, said this year’s Hair Massacure will have a live band and silent auction.
Brittany McLellan, ArtSci ’12, said this year’s Hair Massacure will have a live band and silent auction.
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The Make-a-Wish branch at Queen’s is expecting to raise $25,000 from this year’s Hair Massacure.

The Hair Massacure is an annual event where participants donate hair to wig-making organizations and raise money for the Make-a-Wish foundation. If the Feb. 11 event is successful, the group will surpass a year-end goal of $35,000.

Brittany McLellan, president of the Make-a-Wish Queen’s branch, said the cost of granting one wish starts at about $7,000.The Queen’s branch grants wishes specifically from the greater Kingston area.

McLellan was inspired to get involved in the foundation after her nine-year-old brother was granted a trip to Disney World after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“Our family was in crisis mode,” McLellan, ArtSci ’12, said. “It was the first time we were able to smile and relax again.”

Participants in Hair Massacure will have their hair cut, dyed and shaved on stage. If they want to donate hair they need to cut off a minimum of eight inches.

McLellan said approximately six chunks of hair are needed to make one wig — about three inches are devoted solely to sewing it together.

“A lot of treatments like chemotherapy and medications cause hair loss,” McLellan said. “It’s nice to give kids self-confidence as well as granting their wishes.”

This is the third year that the Queen’s University branch has participated in the event.

“This will be the first year that we actually have stylists, so it’s essentially a free haircut,” McLellan said.

Participants with dyed and bleached hair can now donate their hair.

Last year coloured hair wasn’t accepted, so now more people will have the opportunity to participate, McLellan said.

She has been growing her hair since she joined the committee in 2009 and said this year she will be cutting off 10 inches.

Queen’s Make-a-Wish has already raised more than $13,000 through the student opt-out fee and events such as a bottle drive and White Out party. The group started at Queen’s in 2009 and over the past two years it has cumulatively raised $33,000.

McLellan said this year there will be free shuttle busses to and from campus for participants. The busses were donated from First Student Canada after organizers found it was difficult for students to commute to the event at the Cataraqui Town Centre last year.

Participants are asked to raise money prior to the event and register with a goal amount, with proceeds going directly to the Make-a-Wish foundation. McLellan said the current pledges range from $100 to $4,000.

“Any amount of money helps quite a bit,” she said. “We’ve already raised $13,000 and granted one wish this year. We’re looking to do another one soon.”

Since 2009 the Queen’s branch has granted five wishes.

After a child with a life-threatening illness is recommended to the foundation, the group consults a physician and interviews the family. If approved, the child picks three wishes and one is granted. McLellan said granting the wishes of children with terminal illnesses are the priority.

This year the Queen’s branch granted a wish for a boy and his family to take a trip to Disney World. It’s one of the most common wishes, McLellan said.

This year she’s expecting 100 participants and said that 34 have already signed up.

“It’s usually the last couple weeks where the most people sign up,” she said. “People interested in the event should register through our email and like us on our Facebook page.”

The Hair Massacure will take place Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Cataraqui Town Centre.

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