Langton Relay for Life organizer asks the community to "walk with us" on Friday, May 9

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Sacred Heart School's Pierre Chasse badly wants a haircut.

"Its time," says Chasse with a laugh.

But he has to wait.

If everything goes according to plan, the French teacher's 'hair day' has been reserved for Friday, May 9th during Langton's Elementary School Relay for Life, and more specifically, during the 2 p.m. closing ceremonies. Over the years his trademark 'shave' has become a Langton Relay for Life tradition.

"For our school, I told them if they bring in $50 or more in donations we'll put their names in a draw and whoever wins will get to shave it... because they all want to. Like I've said before, it's for a good cause and the kids are really into it."

There is a catch. Chasse only gets a haircut if the Relay for Life, a co-operative effort between Sacred Heart Catholic School, Langton Public School, and the community as a whole, reaches this year's fundraising goal of $10,000, the same target they successfully surpassed in 2008 ($18,000), 2010 ($12,000) and 2012 ($11,000) after all the money had been collected.

"I don't know if we'll reach our goal this year... anything over $10,000, for our community, I think that's an amazing thing. Yes, we did reach it last time..." he nodded, "because I had the hair cut to prove it."

To help prepare for the Canadian Cancer Society fundraiser, Chasse has been intentionally letting it grow out.

"I figured it would make it more dramatic. I've been wanting a haircut for weeks now, but I thought what's the point, in two weeks its going to be gone anyways. It's driving me crazy, so I'm going to be welcoming it!"

A cancer survivor, Chasse is coordinating Langton's fourth Relay for Life with Langton Public School teacher Erica DeSerranno. It's a co-operative event which brings the spirit of the community together, not just the two schools.

"We're trying to get a lot of community members to join us because we want it to be a community event," said Chasse. "We want them to walk with us. We also want cancer survivors to join us at the opening ceremonies, which will be around 9 a.m. and the Survivor Lap at 9:15."

Free Relay for Life T-shirts with the trademark slogan "Fight Back, Remember, Celebrate" are available for cancer survivors.

"Anyone who is a cancer survivor and wants to walk, we want them. We really want them to come and join us. But please contact us ahead of time so we have enough shirts to give them. People can contact me (Pierre) at 519-875-2556 or contact co-coordinator Erica DeSerranno 519-875-4448."

ARCHIVES(click on the links to read our 2008, 2010 and 2012 Langton Relay for Life stories)

2008 - Kids fighting cancer in memory of teacher - Langton's Relay for Life remembers Gail DeWaele

2010 - Langton School's join forces for second Relay for Life

2010 - Langton's Relay for Life brings community together

2012 - Langton students join forces to fight cancer

2012 - Students affected by cancer - Taylor Demaiter, Cole Young, Kaitlynn Depew

2012 - "Just glad to be here" - Albert and Mary Ann VanLouwe

2012 - "I'm not about to give up..." - Chantal Vandesompele

2012 - Langton Relay for Life reaches $10,00 target

Students participate in the Relay by walking around the community track in shifts throughout the day. To raise funds, students collect pledges/donations and sell luminaries, which are set up in the Sacred Heart gymnasium.

"It's a very moving atmosphere in the gym – people are able to reflect on their loved ones. Looking back at some of the previous Relay for Life videos, some of the survivors walking with us are unfortunately not here with us, and until we can find ways to get rid of (cancer), that's primarily why we do this. Any school, any community, they have kids or staff that have, sadly sometimes, been affected one way or another by cancer.

"Walking around the track, the kids seem to connect somehow on some level and they look forward to doing this activity. And staff members, it's not hard to convince them to get on board. They all love to do their part, they all feel the responsibility and the desire to be part of this."

Fundraising began last week when the 2014 event was officially launched with assemblies at both schools, Wednesday at Sacred Heart and Friday at Langton Public School.

"We're excited and from what I can tell most of the kids want to participate and they are asking for donations already."

Online donations are also an option this year, said Chasse.

"If people want to help us out, it's www.relayforlife.ca/elementary and they can scroll down to find both our schools. They both go to the same cause."

Also on the 9th, there will be a community (hamburger) barbecue open to the public, and for the adults, a silent auction.

"We're trying to invite people from the community to come and join us and participate. That's really what I would love to see... a lot of involvement, for everyone to feel like they're included, to walk with the kids. It's a safe event. We're going to be here and we want to encourage a lot of community members to join us."

HIGH SCHOOL SUPPORT

In an effort to reach out to the community, organizers are also challenging the two local high schools – Holy Trinity Catholic High School and Valley Heights Secondary School – to see whether the 'grads' can find creative ways to support Langton's Relay.

"We're going to send a message to them," said Chasse. "Who knows, maybe someone can take that and roll with it.

"It's going to be a good event. Our schools work well together and we do a few things together during the school year, but this is really a good one. I always say, there's no discrimination when it comes to cancer. It doesn't matter when it comes to age, gender, anything – so we all have to fight it together."

chris.abbott@sunmedia.ca

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