Community

Teacher loses hair to good cause

Trei Zips joins Serafina Budzyk in shaving Eric Gearey
Trei Zips joins Serafina Budzyk in shaving Eric Gearey's head as part of a fundraiser for Hailey Pettit at Ecole Mountainview April 4.
— image credit: MARGARET SPEIRS

Ecole Mountainview students took a shaver to teacher Eric Gearey's curly hair today to mark the end of a fundraiser for Hailey Pettit, 6, who's battling leukemia at BC Children's Hospital after being diagnosed earlier this year.

Students held a dance before spring break and then took pledges to see who could raise the most money by April 3 for Hailey, and the student who raised the most got the honour of shaving Gearey's hair.

Before the headshaving began, Hailey's dad Ted Petit took a moment to speak with the girls who organized the event, Hannah Francoeur, Emma Keswick and Hannah Link, asking why they decided to help his daughter, who they didn't even know.

They said they heard about Hailey and thought it was sad she was sick and wanted to help.

"You know how important this is?" he asked them. "This is something that will help shape the people you're going to become."

When people ask what it's like to come from a small community, you can tell them that people reach out to help each other, he added.

He took off his toque and showed them his hair, which was growing down to his collar in back.

"I'm not allowed to shave it until Hailey comes home so this feels strange," he said, adding that he has been shaving his head for 20 years.

The total amount the school raised was $6,626.52 and Grade 1 student Serafina Budzyk raised $1,066, the most of any student.

They presented the cheque to Ted and his partner Tammy Ratcliff and then set to shaving Gearey's head.

Budzyk received some help maneuvering the shaver from principal Maxine Champion and the girls who organized the dance and headshave also took turns along with a few other students.

Every so often, Gearey would turn around to let the rest of the school see the progress to squeals and laughter from the other students sitting on the gym floor.

Gearey was left with several shaved trails on his head and some hair remaining on top. He said he was going to shave it all off.

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