WATCH: “Head shaves” have become a popular way to raise money for cancer. Thousands of people participate every year, but for one nine-year-old Calgary girl, shaving her head was about much more than raising money. Heather Yourex-West explains.
When Sofia Smith sat down to say good bye to her long blonde hair Friday, she couldn’t help but get emotional. Tears flowed down the nine-year-old Calgary girl’s cheeks as a volunteer cut large sections of her locks before taking a razor to her scalp.
“For nine years, I’ve never gotten it cut,” she said. “I’ve just trimmed it.”
When Sofia first told her family she wanted to shave her head in support of Calgary cancer charity, Kids Cancer Care, her Dad tried to talk her out of it. Sofia, though, was firm. She wanted to do this for her big brother Rand, who just a few months ago was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was in January that we found out,” Rand said. “I have one treatment left, which is coming up.”
“My first reaction was shock,” Rand’s father, Dallas said. “I think that’s one of the worst things you could ever hear as a parent.”
Since Rand’s diagnosis, Dallas says the people at Kids Cancer Care have been very helpful. Both Rand and Sofia are registered to attend the charity’s Camp Kindle this summer — a camp for kids with cancer and their siblings. Rand has also enjoyed the charity’s weekly pizza nights he at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
“The other thing that’s really great, when you’re going through something like we’re going through right now, is having somebody show up with bags and bags of homemade meals made by loving families,” Dallas said. “It’s such a help because I’m a single parent now.”
This isn’t the first time Global News has interviewed the Smith family. In 2010, Tatiana Smith – Sofia’s mother and Rand’s step-mother, was facing a rare type of cancer, mixoid liposarcoma for the third time. Sadly, Tatiana passed away five years ago, when Sofia was just four years old.
Dallas says his wife would have been very happy to see what their daughter has done.
“I know for a fact she’d be very proud. It’s a very selfless act, and for Sofia to go out and so something significant for someone else or something else is remarkable.”
Sofia calls this the bravest thing she’s ever done.
“I was thinking about how many lives I’ve just changed and how it can change my brother’s life.”
By shaving her head, Sofia raised $20,000 for the charity. For her brother, the amount is overwhelming.
“I didn’t think it was possible to raise that much money in a couple weeks,” said Rand. “I’m just, really proud of her.”
Editor’s note: Earlier copy identified Tatiana Smith as Sofia and Rand’s mother, the latest version has been corrected to say Tatiana Smith is Sofia’s mother and Rand’s step-mother
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