Local woman “braves the shave” for childhood cancer patients



By Ron Giofu


Melissa Martin1 Melissa Martin2A local woman has “braved the shave” in honour and support of children battling childhood cancer.

Melissa Martin organized a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event Sunday afternoon with her head and the heads of many others being shaved. In addition to the head shavings, there were food sales, a lemonade stand and other activities to help raise funds.

The event was held Sunday at Sobeys and, as of Monday afternoon, had raised at least $13,000. Many in the crowd could be seen wiping tears from their eyes as they watched Martin’s hair come off.

Martin’s goal was $5,000.

“I feel good. It feels awesome,” said the newly-bald Martin immediately after getting her head shaved.

The original inspiration to help children fight cancer came six years ago when her friend’s daughter Mila lost her fight with a brain tumour. Subsequent interactions with children suffering from various forms of cancer only strengthened her resolve to assist in the fight with the dreaded disease.

“Their strength and bravery is what has me up here,” she told a large crowd of well-wishers and supporters Sunday afternoon. “They still smile, laugh and still want to play. They are the reason my heart and soul is devoted to fighting childhood cancer.”

Mila’s fight with cancer “changed my life,” Martin said, as she learned “not to sweat the small stuff” in life.

“It’s amazing the life lessons you can learn from a two-year-old,” said Martin. “I’m honouring her today and so many other children.”

Over the past nine months, Martin was asked numerous times if she was nervous about getting her head shaved. She stated she was never nervous about having her head shaved, adding that whenever she would have a moment where she would think about missing her hair she would be reminded of all the children and adults who don’t have a choice about losing their hair as they lose it in efforts to save their lives.

“All I have to do is shave my head to save a life,” said Martin.

Money will be put towards a research grant while the hair will be donated to Wigs for Kids. Stylists from Carol’s Unisex Hair Salon were among those helping shave heads during the fundraiser.

Martin thanked the crowd for coming out as well as those who joined her in shaving their heads, as it also raised awareness of the fight to eradicate childhood cancer. She also dedicated the day to her grandfather, who died from lung cancer at age 67, and Michelle Fischer, a friend who died late last year at age 42 from ovarian cancer. Also honoured was her uncle Kevin who was recently diagnosed with the disease as was Ken Fraser “whose strength, and determination to beat cancer, inspires me every single day.”

Martin said more money is still coming in and all the money will stay in Canada. She added she is still accepting donations.

With the hope she has inspired others, Martin said she would like to see an end to cancer entirely.

“We must put and end to cancer and together we can do that,” she said.

For more information, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/MelissaMartin , call 1-888-899-2253 or e-mail her at melismartin84@gmail.com.


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