“I already knew that the cancer treatment was hard enough because some of my family members went through it and so when I discovered that, not only do children with cancer have to fight the sickness, but they also had to face the social stigma of losing their hair. I couldn’t believe that children could be so mean,” reflects Uxue Gantxegi. Inspired to take action, 8th grader Uxue recently cut off all of her hair in order to show her support for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments. Her connection is very personal as she remembers, “When I was younger I was bullied because I thought differently and I know how segregated that made me feel, I didn’t want others to go through that.” Not only does the sickness attack their body but the social stigma of not having hair truly affects the confidence and self-esteem of these brave children. “Then through a friend of mine I discovered that I could donate my hair so that kids battling cancer didn’t have to deal with the social issues while they recovered from the treatment and can focus their strength to getting better.”
Uxue started to plan. First she grew her hair to reach the minimum length needed for a wig donation. She identified the receiving organization, wigs4kids out of Michigan, USA. Then she found a partnering salon, I-Hair salon from Xintiandi who would come to school and cut and style her hair. Finally the date, April 14th on Sports Day, in the middle of the field where her friends and families could watch and cheer her on. “I initially thought Uxue was so brave when I heard that she was planning to do this, but when the time actually came I realized that all this was within our reach–I could donate hair and fight against cancer just as she was doing, and the longer I watched her hair being cut, the more the realization that we could really make a difference came over me,” comments classmate Oceania Chee. This realization of Oceania has sparked a movement.
Since Uxue’s brave act, a group of 8th grade girls have gotten together wanting to continue cancer awareness at WISS. On their own initative, Uxue Gantxegi, Oceania Chee, Timea Heim and Chloe Chan have started Periwinkle. Periwinkle’s mission is to bring cancer awareness to the WISS community through activities and different fundraisers. The group then plans to identify people or organizations within our community to support. Fiona Collins, Deputy
Principal of Secondary comments, “These students epitomize the both the attributes of the IB learner profile and the WISS mission. They are caring individuals who have identified a need, taken action and are currently working on communicating their ideas with our community for a series of events. They are certainly the “brave, compassionate, internationally minded global citizens with the skill and intellect to help shape the future” that WISS strives to send out into the world.”
A special thanks to Carl of I-Hair salon who really caught the vision of Uxue’s idea and helped her bring it to reality.
Be on the lookout for the next Periwinkle event! For certain, there will be more haircuts happening…who will it be next time?
Come and show your support.