Modeling the Way

Fifteen years ago a student had an idea and the courage to make a difference. This student was in his last year of elementary school and started to think about a way that he could help women with breast cancer. In junior high school, along with his brothers, these three students explored different fundraising initiatives to bring the community together, soon after they launched Pink in the City.

I was that grade six grade student thirteen years ago. I remember the day I asked my mom if I can shave my head for breast cancer. It was October 17th and the Shave to Save campaign was taking place in the city; I knew that because I’d hear about it on the radio every day, on my drive to school. I wanted to participate. I decided that I would raise two thousand dollars to shave my head.  My mom encouraged me, but also told me she didn’t want me to be disappointed if I didn’t raise all the money I had in mind. I remained hopeful and steadfast in my ability to make it happen. I believed it was possible and I was determined to make it happen. The very next day I went to school equipped with a decorated jar and asked permission from my principal. I went to all my classrooms; I asked all my family members, friends, and hockey parents. In less than 10 days, I had almost raised the amount of money I wanted to raise!! (It was a little less than two-thousand dollars). I felt so good. I knew I was making a positive contribution to my school and our community. Finally, the day came. At 6 o’clock in the morning, on Halloween Ms. Tzanzic, Ms. Daklaras and Ms. Veradi came to school early to support me and watch me shave my head before school started. It was broadcasted live on the radio station. I was so proud. My parents, my brothers and my teachers all encouraged me to make a difference for my community and supported my fundraising efforts. That was the seed of something much greater that was about to unfold. Fundraising has taught me so much over the years. I always felt lucky to have studied at schools that encouraged us to get involved in community events.  It has been educational on so many levels as it teaches a sense of responsibility, citizenship and connection to community life. During that time, I also learned about the power of teamwork and working with like-minded people to achieve a common goal. I discovered that one seemingly small action can make you a role model as you pave the way for others to follow your lead.

Pink in the City has evolved as a breast cancer foundation and continues to contribute significantly in the philanthropic forum of our community. I am grateful to work with a group of volunteers who are dedicated and motivated to inspire others. We continue to raise breast cancer awareness and funds to make a difference through Model the Way initiatives.