Students go bald for cancer fundraiser

Children from the Cayman International School were so affected by the stories of two brave cancer survivors that they raised more than $1,000 sponsoring two Year Seven boys to shave 
their heads. 

Devin-Ross Mourao and Drew Lerikos, both 13, lost their blonde locks in the fundraiser for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society on Friday, 2 March, as hairdresser Jackie Soriano from Spa Esprit gave the two boys new buzz cuts. 

Teachers Roberto Bufalini and Troy Bajardi also had their heads shaved, so there were four new baldies in the school this week. 

The Year Seven media studies class met cancer survivors Monica Whittaker and Michelle Motsko last month when they came to the school to explain to the children about cancer and the effects of chemotherapy. Both women had gone bald during their 
chemo treatments. 

“We spoke to the kids about our experiences and how it affected our loved ones. We gave them a general history of our journey. The kids were moved by it,” said Ms Whittaker, who along with Ms Motsko, visited the school on Friday to cheer on the boys and their teachers as they went under the electric razor. 

Both Drew and Devin-Ross said they have had family members affected by cancer. 

“Most of our class knows someone who has been through chemo,” Devin-Ross said. 

Hairdresser Ms Soriano kept some of Devin-Ross’ long blonde hair to donate to the Locks of Love charity, which supplies real hair to make wigs for cancer patients. 

Mr. Bufalini, the class’s media teacher, screened a short film called “Now I Know”, made by the students, in which they explained the impact meeting the cancer survivors had on them. 

“They came to me with this idea … It just started snowballing,” Mr. Bufalini said. 

The boys had pledged to shave their heads in front of their classmates if they raised $1,000 by Thursday. At 8am, they only had $300, but they hit the $1,000 mark by 10am. 

Mr. Bufalini had agreed to shave his head alongside Drew and Devin-Ross, but Mr. Bajardi was a latecomer to the plan, having challenged his class Friday that he would shave his head if the class raised $100 for the event. They did. 

The boys’ classmates and family members gathered round for the outdoor head shaving after school on Friday and friends felt compelled to rub the boys’ newly shorn heads afterward. 

Woody Foster, one of several adults who had their heads shaved as part of a fundraiser that raised more than $60,000 for the Cancer Society late last year, came along on Friday to support the boys. 

Jennifer Weber of the Cancer Society explained to the pupils that their $1,000 could be used to pay for mammograms for 10 women, who could otherwise not afford to get one, or to pay for a port in a person’s chest to enable them to receive chemotherapy. 

“A thousand dollars means so much to us,” Ms Weber said. 

CIS Cancer shave 2012

Devin-Ross Mourao and Drew Lerikos, both 13, lost their blonde locks in a gesture of support for cancer survivors Monica Whittaker and Michelle Motsko after a fundraiser for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. – PHOTOS: NORMA CONNOLLY

CIS Cancer shave 2012 - 2

From left, Michelle Motsko, Drew Lerikos, Devin-Ross Mourao and Monica Whittaker. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY