Our Lady of Wisdom grade four student Jessica Engleson showed her support of her grandmothers who are battling cancer by raising $3,565 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation and braving the shave on Nov. 21.
At the beginning of November, the Engleson family created a Facebook page where friends and family could donate funds to the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Within the first 24 hours, over $1,000 was raised.
“We were really overwhelmed from the response we received from our friends, family, and our community,” said Jessica’s mother, Lorna Engleson.
“People responded and reached out. It was really overwhelming, and we’re super happy and grateful that everybody supports our girl,” she said.
Jessica decided to support both of her grandmothers who have cancer, by raising funds and raising awareness for cancer research.
Jessica was inspired to raise funds and brave the shave after a teammate on her soccer team shaved her head and collected donations in support of a family member diagnosed with cancer last year.
“She asked if she could do the same thing that her friend did. After careful consideration, her dad and I decided yes,” Lorna said.
“This was what she truly-truly wanted to do. It wasn’t an overnight decision. She was asking us for quite some time,” she said.
“She had such long beautiful hair, we weren’t sure if we wanted her to shave it all off,” said Jessica’s father, Randy Engleson.
“We really thought about what it was for, she really insisted, and it meant a lot to her. After that we really jumped on board, and supported her in this cause,” he added.
Jessica’s family, friends, and classmates came together to watch her shave her head and donate the hair to Angel Hair for Kids.
When Jessica first saw her new look in the mirror, she was shocked.
“I was surprised. I stopped for a minute and thought this is how I’m going to live. This is my hair for two years,” Jessica said.
Watching Jessica get her head shaved in front of her class was extremely emotional for both Lorna and Randy.
“I didn’t realize how emotional it would turn out to be. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the crowd when she was cutting her hair, and she had a smile on her face the entire time,” Lorna said.
“It was a huge sacrifice. We realized this was what she really wanted to do,” Lorna added. “Watching the kids, they were really emotional; some of the kids were crying because they realized the sacrifice Jessica was making.”
Lorna and Randy are both extremely proud of Jessica’s desire and commitment to support the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Without the support of friends, family, and the community, Jessica wouldn’t have been able collection donations for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
“Thank you to all of my supporters who donated money,” Jessica added. “$1 is a start to curing one person.”
To donate to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, please visit the website at https://www.albertacancer.ca/donate/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9pu529iG5gIVFtJkCh0USQzLEAAYASAAEgIOOPD_BwE.