Samara Profili’s eyes were smiling and behind the mandatory mask her grin grew wider and wider, as her Grade 6 class cheered wildly when her golden locks fell to the floor.
The Webster Elementary School student was making a statement. At her side was principal Brian Stefani, who also dedicated his not so golden locks to support her haircut for cancer fundraiser.
People close to Samara had been recently diagnosed with cancer, and she wanted to do something about it. So a couple weeks ago, the 11 year old pledged to raise $1,000, then cut her hair and donate funds to three cancer foundations.
“I am hugely proud,” said mom Desiree Profili. “She’s had a few people in her life dealing with cancer.
“She just came home from school one day and announced she was going to shave her head as a fundraiser.”
Samara also approached Stefani, who suggested she set the bar a little lower to avoid disappointment.
“I just wanted to make it attainable for her,” Stefani explained to the class before the hair cutting. “I was a little bit worried about her self-esteem of not getting $1,000, so I said, ‘No, let’s make it $500 and I’ll do it, too.’
“Less than 18 hour later, I get a phone call from her mom; she had raised almost $1,000 in 18 hours.”
One of the most dreaded side effects of cancer treatment is hair loss, whether due to chemotherapy-induced hair loss or as a side effect of radiation therapy to the brain. Many have shown their support by shaving their heads then donating their hair and funds to help those living with cancer.
Samara’s gesture made her mom even prouder because she did it all on her own – no fundraising websites or social media platforms.
“Honestly she just talked to her family, and asked people for money. Her class donated almost $100, just bringing in a couple dollars each,” said Desiree.
She also received support from other students and staff members and is currently at more than $2,500 and counting.
When hairstylist Sharlene Huska was done with Samara, Stefani shared a valuable lesson with the class, saying: “Never underestimate yourself, when you put your mind to something, and what you can do.
“Even at $500, in COVID times it looked like a huge goal, but when she put her mind to it, everything broke apart, and just all the barriers I had in my mind, worried for her, just disappeared.”
Stefani then took the chair, Samara the shears, and proceeded to shave his head as well.
“He was awesome, the minute she said she was going to do it, he stepped right up and offered his head too and was super proud of her,” said Desiree. “The school has been awesome with the amount of support.”
The funds will go to the B.C. Cancer Foundation, Children’s Hospital, and Ronald MacDonald House.
“Thank you for your support, it really helped me on my journey,” Samara added.
Thank you to videographer/photographer Geoff Fontes for capturing the special moment and sharing it with the Times and Rossland News.