Local family going bald for cancer research 

Spending almost a month at Vancouver Children’s Hospital with a sick daughter, Whistler’s Jen Vasseur decided she was going to do something to help the hospital, and some of the kids she met.

On April 5, Jen will throw her hat, and hair, into the ring in the second annual Balding for Dollars fundraiser in support of the Oncology, Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant wards at Vancouver Children’s Hospital. After she has gone under the shears, she’ll probably want the hat back.

"I just feel I owe the Children’s Hospital so much," says Vasseur. "Ella (her daughter) didn’t have cancer, but we were right next to the oncology ward, walking around there, and we’ll never be the same after that experience.

"I’m so relieved daughter was given a second chance with something that could have been disastrous for her, and I want to see these kids with cancer get a second chance too."

In June of 2002, one-and-a-half year old Ella fell ill with a rare blood infection called memingococcemia, and was hospitalized in critical condition within 24 hours. She spent 12 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Vancouver Children’s Hospital on full life support before she could be moved to a general ward.

A few months ago she decided that she would take part in Balding for Dollars, which raised more than $6,500 for the hospital last year. This year the goal is to raise $8,000 or more.

When he heard about what his Aunt was doing and why, Jen’s nine-year-nephew in Vancouver decided he would go bald as well and stopped cutting his hair. He’s now collecting pledges around his school and neighbourhood.

Jen’s husband Derek also decided to take part.

"I figured if she was going to do it, why don’t I do it too?" said Derek, who has shaved his head in the past. "I think she’s doing it for all the right reasons. I’m more worried about how she’s going to react to her bald head than me."

Jen says she doesn’t even care, as long as she has a nice toque to keep her head warm.

To support the Vasseur’s with a pledge, you can drop by her office at Thomas Cooke Travel on Main Street, e-mail her at jvasseur@thomascook.ca , or call her at 604-938-0111.

If you are interested in going bald yourself for pledges, or in donating prizes to the event, visit www.baldingfordollars.com or contact local organizer Dave Clark at 604-935-8450.

The fundraiser takes place in the evening of April 5 at the Garibaldi Lift. Co. More information on times to follow.

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