Portraits of Courage

The Challenge presents itself in the lives of some participants at a turning point, after a long reflection. In a series of portraits, we present to you the inspiring story of participants who agreed to testify and explain the motivations that push them to put a price on their head

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Laurie

On March 20, a beautiful surprise came knocking at the door of Leucan Estrie’s offices. With a huge smile and starry eyes, Laurie Poulin announced that she had just took on the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge, presented by Proxim and was coming to donate $1,152 for the cause.

“My initial target was $400, and I was so impressed by people’s generosity! The idea came to me when I decided to get a haircut. I wanted to get away from social conventions and no longer devote as much time to my physical appearance. I thought back on the Leucan Shaved Head Challenges I attended while I was in high school. That’s when I got the idea to organize a fundraiser for Leucan. As a swimming instructor, children are part of my daily life, which makes me especially sensitive to this cause. This experience transformed me in every sense of the word. I’m already thinking of the next philanthropic endeavours I’d like to take on, including humanitarian trips.”

Marc-Olivier

Marc-Olivier Hogue Labelle brought some whimsical humour to the personalized Leucan Shaved Head Challenge he took on April 17.

In addition to exceeding his fundraising goal, he really let his hair down (and out!) for his Challenge.

Having lost his mother to cancer 5 years ago, Marc-Olivier wanted to commemorate her memory in a significant and unique way by taking on the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge, presented by PROXIM. In preparation for his Challenge, Marc-Olivier let his hair grow over several months and took humorous pictures of the evolution of his mane. Throughout his campaign, he created various silly hairdos, much to the amusement of the team of Leucan and his supporters.

He was all smiles when he donated the amount of $1,245 to Leucan, far exceeding his original goal of $900!

Jarunee and her daugther Marine

“I first heard about the Challenge 5 years ago when my daughter decided to take part in it for the first time. This time around, I took on the Challenge with her, both to celebrate my 50th birthday and the fact that I will be travelling back to Thailand next year. I wanted to give to sick children and show my gratitude to my city: Montreal. I would take on the Challenge again without any hesitation. It was such a moving and proud moment. When people stop me on the street to ask about my haircut, I’m quick to reply: ‘I took on the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge!’ That’s why I’m still bringing in donations even now that my Challenge is done: because people ask me about it. My advice: Leave negativity aside and think positive. Yes, I can do it! I’m doing this for the children and for a great cause!”

Portraits of Courage - Leucan Shaved Head Challenge 2017

Yoan

“I told my friends and family directly that I had the intention to tackle this test. I had never experienced something like that. I realised that it would be like a challenge.”

Yoan had a promising future in university football. However, several knee injuries forced him to hang up his cleats. He took on the Challenge to formalize the conclusion of an important part of his life while making a difference in the lives of others…

Did you watch his video? Click here to do so!

 Donald

“I promised her I would carry on her fight so that one day, her disease would no longer be a fatal statistic. So that those diagnosed would stand a chance.

She was diagnosed with an infiltrating brainstem glioma on November 11, 2015. We were told that there was nothing to do. The shock was like a punch in the face. I was completely knocked out.

Marie-Ange was a straight-A student, an athlete, a true magnet when it came to making friends, a leader. Strength and courage were two words that described her very well.

When I talked to her about taking on the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge, she asked, ‘Will I be able to shave your head?’ She made me promise to take on the Challenge every year. She knew some cancers were incurable because researchers had yet to find the cure. It takes money to do so. I promised her I would carry on the tradition…

It feels good to continue the fight for her. She’s up there somewhere and she can see it all.”

Marie-Jeanne

“In high school, how you look is super important. But when the school principals visited each classroom to inform us that a secondary-four student had died from cancer and to ask us to rally around a fundraising activity… let’s just say that looks took a backseat!

[Since having my head shaved,] people are proud of me and I’m proud of myself. It really highlights my face.

I sometimes feel like I’m too young to accomplish great things. […] It’s awesome to be making such a significant gesture at such a young age!”

Katya

“While I was in high school, I mustered the courage to do it for a friend coping with cancer and for my grandfather who died from it. […] I was browsing Facebook when I saw an ad for Leucan. That’s when I made the decision to do it… for real!

All of a sudden, doubts assailed me. What would people think? I was about to be bald, you know? However, I wanted to make a difference for children, and that’s the most important part for me.

The Challenge brings so much joy and pride! I feel like a true supporter. I even inspired another girl to follow my lead. That made me very happy. And in the end, my hair will grow back!”

Samuel

“At first, it was a project to do with my brother—he’s even the one who introduced me to the Challenge. Then, my friends came onboard and took on the Challenge with me. […]

I had a friend who died from leukemia. So, I decided to do this for her. Getting my head shaved is not a big deal for me. If it can help others, that’s great.

On May 28, I took on the Challenge for the 11th time! For my friend Joey, this was his 9th Challenge. It’s become sort of an annual tradition for us.

To those hesitant to take the plunge, I would say to not be afraid and to go for it!”

Estelle

Mrs. Estelle Brouillard-Neveu, 87, took on the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge this spring in honour of her great-grand-daughter, Mélia.

The crowd in attendance gave her a standing ovation when her white locks fell under the razor blade. In that moment, Estelle shut her eyes:

“I thought about how all this energy would help my great-grand-daughter in her recovery, but also all cancer-stricken children. […] I was told that Mélia’s odds of recovery were good, but I found her so young to get through all those treatments. She’s only six years old. Getting my head shaved is really not a huge thing.”

Funny fact: On the eve of her Challenge, Mrs. Brouillard-Neveu paid a visit to her hairdresser. Why? “Just because I was getting my head shaved is no excuse to not get dolled up first.”

Fonderie Horne

Organized by René Lavallière, who saw first-hand all the hard work done by Leucan when his daughter was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three, the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge hosted by Fonderie Horne celebrated its 10th edition by donating $27,448,65 to Leucan Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

“The 70 participants challenged each other’s teams and created a fun, competitive ambiance. With every edition, the number of participants and the amount raised keep on growing. The Challenge generates a darn good energy between the employees! This year, we broke records at every turn and we are extremely proud,” said René Lavallière.

Special thanks go to the management team of Fonderie Horne for adding $100 to the amount raised by any participant who collected $50+ for Leucan.

Maxime

Maxime is the father of three-year-old Thomas, diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma, a rare pediatric cancer.
One week prior to the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge at the Videotron Centre, Maxime and his team decided to take it on. The result: $22,000 raised in recognition of Thomas’ courage.

Here is a summary of what 2016 has been like for little Thomas.

“The year 2016 has been very hard for our family, especially for our little Thomas. […] When the Fort McMurray wildfire overhauled Thomas’ daily life by destroying his home and forcing the closure of his daycare centre, we decided to move back to Quebec to be closer to our family.
In the fall, Thomas’ grandma was diagnosed with cancer. She is currently in remission.
In November, Thomas was hospitalized with pneumonia. The next day, Thomas’ little brother, Elliot, was born. However, a few days before Christmas, Elliot suffered from pulmonary hemorrhage… On December 21, the team in intensive care saved Elliot’s life.
Just when it felt like Thomas’ life would go back to normal, he was diagnosed with cancer. He had his first chemotherapy treatment on May 9. It’s difficult to explain what cancer is to a three-year-old, not to mention why he’s losing his hair.
To help Thomas through his ordeal, I, Grandpa Pierre, Uncle Philippe, Nathan (a brave cousin of Thomas), and several others decided to get our heads shaved for Leucan. Moreover, it is thanks to Leucan that today, I feel confident that my little Thomas will get through it all.”

France

Mathieu, France’s son, died from a pediatric cancer twenty years ago. To pay homage to him, France took on the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge for a second time, this year at Place Rosemère, together with her other son, Jean-Sébastien.

“His memory is eternal; his courage and will to live, incomparable. […] Today, with hope and research, children can aspire for a cure. A remission, a recovery, a future… To live!

I know that Leucan contributes to research and provides children and families with all the support they need to keep their hope—so crucial to live—alive.

I am halfway to my goal of raising $10,000 for Leucan Laurentides-Lanaudière.

I’m counting on you.”

Marc-André

The employees of PROXIM, the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge’s presenting sponsor, feel very close to the cause of cancer-stricken children. This is why, once again this year, they have decided to mobilize and take up the Challenge. Marc-André Lapierre, one of the owners of PROXIM Lapierre, Lapierre & Patton, shares the reason behind his engagement:

‘’We found the concept of the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge very interesting because beyond raising money, we personally participate by making a symbolic gesture for cancer-stricken children.’’

In addition to Marc-André, seven other employees from PROXIM Lapierre, Lapierre & Patton, have decided to take up the challenge. ‘’The event has had a rallying impact on our employees. On the day of the Challenge, many employees who were on holiday decided to come give a hand and show their support. We also received a strong support from the population. The entire team is very proud of this accomplishment, knowing it’s a small gesture in comparison to what the children and their families must go through.’’