By Heather Vita - March 4, 2017
Two years ago, Alex Haapa-aho set out on a journey to grow his blonde hair to a length long enough to make into a wig. He also decided that, along the way, he wanted to raise money for the Northern Cancer Fund in honour of his two grandfathers, both of whom passed away from cancer.
His goal? Raise 5 dumptrucks full of cash.
On October 28, his 9th birthday, Alex did just that, and much more.
With family and friends gathered together in the Garden of Hope at the Hospital, Alex finally got his head shaved, after raising $10,665, with donations pouring in right until the finish.
“I was really excited and scared that day,” he said, “especially with all the people and cameras around. But I thought about my grandfathers – my Grandpa and my Papa – and I know they would have told me ‘great job’.”
Alex’s cousin Sara was the one to do the honours and, in front of a big crowd, cut Alex’s hair, which was then delivered to Believe in Beauty to be made into a wig.
“That day was such a blur,” said Jennifer Sigus, Alex’s mother. “After a tough year where we lost many family members, that moment actually helped bring closure. It felt good knowing that we were helping others.”
“I’m still in awe of everyone who supported Alex this whole time – from the very first lady who gave us a donation in the waiting room at the Cancer Centre, to his school (Five Mile Public School), to people who supported our yard sale, to our local media – our community really embraced this fundraiser,” said Sigus. “When Country 105 gave him their Country Cash (times 5) in the morning on October 24, it was a great final push to inspire donations.”
“The webpage we had set up by the Health Sciences Foundation to allow online giving was an incredibly valuable tool,” she continued. “We had donations from all across Canada, and even from Sweden! Thanks to social media and the online site, friends and family from all over were able to learn about Alex’s endeavour and help out.”
Following the excitement in October, Alex and his family recently visited the Cancer Centre again – this time to place a memorial plaque, bearing both his grandfathers’ names, on the Memorial Wall. Again, Alex took some time to think about his grandfathers and picked a special place – right at the bottom of the rainbow. “I had some butterflies in my stomach,” he said, “but I felt really good about what we were able to do. I like knowing that my grandfathers’ names will be where people will see them, and we’ll always have a special way to remember them.”
An online giving page was crucial to Alex’s success as he was able to share it via social media, e-mail etc. Donations came in from across Canada, and even Sweden! If you’re hosting your own event, ask us how we can help with an online giving page! Call 345-4673 or e-mail email@example.com to learn more.