Visitors to Mercedes may notice a few shorter haircuts on display this week, after many students took part in a fantastic charitable initiative to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.
On Friday 26 July, 36 Mercedes students from all year groups volunteered to take part in the Ponytail Project, stepping up to cut 20 centimetres or more of their hair for donation, as well as raising funds from friends and family for cancer research and support services for families affected by cancer.
After the big chop, the hair is collected and sent to Sustainable Salons where it will be turned into wigs for patients suffering from hair loss.
There was certainly a lot of excitement (as well as a little nervousness) as volunteers assembled at lunchtime for the big chop, and students and staff gathered to watch and show their support for this worthy cause.
The College was very lucky to have Mercedes alumna Lisa Fernandez leading proceedings as MC for the event.
Students volunteered for a variety of reasons but were united in their commitment to upholding the Mercy values of Compassion and Service.
“This is an amazing opportunity to raise funds that will support people impacted by cancer,” said Year 12 student Katrina Soares, “and I believe that chopping off my ponytail is a small price to pay in order to do so. I know that I am lucky enough to be able to grow my hair back and giving to others is a very rewarding experience.”
“…It is such an important cause!” said Year 9 student Ruby Breuer. “My great-grandmother died of bowel cancer. My aunty died of breast cancer and my uncle is currently fighting against cancer! I want to raise money to fight this disease, plus pass on my hair to make wigs for those who are also undergoing cancer treatment.”
Religious Education teacher Miss Guida joined the students in donating her ponytail.
“Hair can be a very empowering thing,” said Miss Guida, “and when it is taken away it can be devastating. I believe that chopping my hair is a small price to pay to make another person feel empowered again.”
Teachers Mr Dymnicki and Mr Fleay might not have had ponytails to donate, but that didn’t stop them from getting involved and supporting this very worthy cause, by agreeing to shave their heads to help raise funds.
“My reason for being involved with the Ponytail Project is to acknowledge that many people suffer from cancer and sacrifice on a daily basis.” said Mr Fleay.
“I’m shaving my head in honour of their sacrifices to raise awareness that they are not alone on their journey.”
“I am doing this on behalf of my Aunty who died from cancer,” said Mr Dymnicki, “and even though I don’t have a ponytail, I want to show others that you can still take part and help raise awareness and funds for cancer research.”
The teachers’ participation led to a healthy last-minute round of donations when the chance to cut each teacher’s hair was raffled off to students who came to watch!
Mercedes’ Ponytail Project has raised more than $28,000 in under three months – the fifth highest amount raised in 2022 for the cause (and number 1 in WA) – with Year 7 student Amelie Sorgiovanni, personally raising more than $3,000!