UPDATE: As of this afternoon, Grace Best's Go Fund Me Page for the Road to Hope organization is at $1,550. The total is just over the target of $1,500 set when she began the fundraiser a month ago. More than $1,150 of the total was collected in the last nine days since her story appeared in www.lakelandtoday.ca
Donations can still be made to Best's GoFundMe page.
Best plans to shave her pink-coloured hair on April 17. Check www.lakelandtoday.ca for updates on the shave that the teen says she will live-stream.
It's been dyed pink for a few weeks, and in just a few days more, 15-year-old Grace Best's brightly-coloured hair will be shaved off as part of her campaign to raise funds and awareness for a local service that helps cancer patients.
The Grade 9 student at J.A. Williams High School in Lac La Biche hopes to raise at least $1,500 for the Road To Hope organization by April 11, the day her now-pink locks will meet the barber's shears. She plans to live-stream the shave, showing community members how far she will go to raise awareness and funds.
Using a GoFundMe page, the teen has already raised $400 towards her goal.
The cause is close to Best's heart. She has family members battling cancer and has had family and family friends who have lost their lives due to the disease.
"Seeing those impacts and losing those people makes me value the foundations and organizations who support cancer survivors and patients, like the Road To Hope," said Best.
The Road To Hope Foundation is a regional group that provides clients with transportation services to medical appointments. The organization is staffed by a group of volunteer drivers and relies heavily on donations and community support.
Best said by colouring her hair bright pink, as well as putting up some posters and social media notices, she has been doing what she can to raise awareness for the organization and the continuing fight against the disease. While her bright pink hair has stood out in the school hallways and in the community, she also hopes that her age will help to draw some much-needed attention and funds ... and show people how engaged the younger generation are.
"I hope it can show people what young people can do, what they can contribute," she said, explaining that many of her friends take part in campaigns and programs for a wide-range of causes. "I do believe that this generation has helped to break down many boundaries. We need to take our own action. We need to be the change that we wish to see in the world."
Some may see it as a daunting goal, but Best says teens and young people continue to do a lot to make their voices heard.
"Getting involved, standing up and doing something is only frightening if you allow yourself to be frightened by it," she said, explaining that the thought of losing her hair — and having it live-stream broadcast — has had a empowering impact on her. "I find it quite exhilarating. I'm excited to help, to do this for others."
Social causes and positive teenage activism aside, Best says she hasn't seen herself without hair before.
"I've never shaved it, only cuts and trims," she said with a smile, adding that for the last few weeks she's been pulling her hair back as she looks in the mirror to see what shape her head is. "I'm 95 per cent that it's oval-shape ... but I'm excited to see for sure."
More details on the live-stream hair session will be updated when they are available.