Cathleen Lundgren

Cathleen Lundgren

Trying to cut childhood cancer

Sitting on her couch in her home office, Ladysmith resident Cathleen Lundgren keeps touching her hair.

Freshly washed, long and dark, her hair makes a statement — but that statement is about to change.

Lundgren is shearing her long locks for childhood cancer research through the charity, Balding for Dollars.

“It’s a project that hits home for people.”

She’s already raised $1,200 — in just three days.

“Maybe some just want to see me shave my head,” she said with a laugh.

Balding for Dollars raises community awareness for childhood cancer and blood disorders, provides funding for the BC Children’s Hospital and supports families.

Lundgren was good friends with a young Vancouver singer who recently died from cancer, Megan McNeil.

“I told her she could shave my head at the next Balding for Dollars,” Lundgren said. “Unfortunately she didn’t make it, but I’m going forward with it.”

McNeil died at the age of 20 on Jan. 28.

Lundgren worked with McNeil for three years, including on McNeil’s song “The Will to Survive”.

The song was named by CBC as the most inspirational song of the year and it also raises money for cancer research.

Lundgren, and her partner, Ladysmith crooner Ryan McMahon, also did the recording of the video — a lot of which was filmed right here in Ladysmith.

“Ladysmith has been a huge part of Megan’s story,” she said.

Shot in July 2010, the video included the Ladysmith RCMP, firefighters from Ladysmith, North Oyster and North Cowichan, employees at In the Beantime, the Sportsman Pub and two cancer survivors, Bob and Phyllis Timothy.

A mother of three, Lundgren said she hopes her actions will prove a poignant message to her children.

“I hope to teach them to be empathetic and help others.”

She said she knows she’s lucky.

“Our kids are healthy,” she said. “But it shouldn’t have to take having a sick kid to support a sick kid.”

Lundgren said people shaving and donating hair to make a wig is really important for cancer fighters.

“Megan used to say the days she wore wigs was the days she didn’t have cancer,” Lundgren said. “There were no sad eyes looking at her.”

Months still until she goes under the shearers, Lundgren said she’s looking forward to chopping it off to help someone who doesn’t have a choice.

“I’ve been told it’s scary walking into it, but then you get a feel of freedom,” she said of losing her tresses.

So what is she doing to prepare for the big shave?

“I’ve been told to bring a good hand cream because it gets itchy very fast,” she laughed.

The 12th annual Balding for Dollars is Saturday, May 7 at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Last year’s event raised $50,000 and Lundgren’s goal is $5,000.

“And if I reach that then I’m going to go for $10,000.”

For those interested in donating to the cause Lundgren’s name can be searched on the website, www.baldingfordollars.com.