Bronwyn versus the Beast

Charity birthday fundraiser organized for local leukemia patient

Bronwyn (second left) poses with her friends who came out to show their support during the fundraiser held in the Agora on March 26th.

Jon Pukila
The Argus

Heads were shaved and hair extensions were given. It was one hell of a birthday party, and all for a good cause.

Monday saw hundreds of people crowd the Agora for a charity fundraiser called Bronwyn versus the Beast. The event raised funds for the treatment of local leukemia patient Bronwyn Huffman.

Bronwyn, who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on Jan. 12, has been undergoing treatment at Sick Children’s Hospital in London, ON. She is expected to remain in treatment for the next six months.

This fundraiser went to help the family cope with the financial strain of transporting their daughter between London and Thunder Bay.

Several members of the Huffman family were present at the fundraiser. One was eager to speak to The Argus.

“Erin, my sister [and] Bronwyn’s aunt, has two boys and they decided to shave their head and collect donations for Bronwyn because of all the travelling… so Kelly [Bronwyn’s mom] is not able to work … It just started on Facebook and it just exploded. We’ve got 25 people raising money to shave their head and countless others for purple highlights,” she said.

“There’s been thousands of dollars raised and we feel like we are very close to replacing Kelly’s wage for six months, and covering travel costs, so we’re pretty happy about how it’s all going.”

The fundraiser also featured stylists from A Streak of Green hair design and Fringe Hair Studio. For a small donation, people could have their hair shaved off by a stylist.

The first person to step up was a father whose daughter made a donation. The hair stylist had fun with his hair, making a checkerboard design pattern before shaving it clean.

For those who did not want to have their head shaved, hairstylists from Fringe Hair Studio were inserting purple hair extensions for a donation of $20. A bake sale table was also present in the Agora, as well as homemade bracelets in honour of Bronwyn’s fight.

As night rolled on, the party took on a Scottish air as dancers from Morgan’s School of Highland Dance arrived. Bronwyn herself is a highland dancer. The Pipes and Drums of Thunder Bay ushered in the main head shaving participants at 6:30 pm. One of them was Katie Schiebler-Smith, Coordinator of the LUSU Multicultural Centre.

The Kam Valley Fiddlers provided music after the headshavings.

Bronwyn also showed up, having been given clearance by her doctors to fly up and witness the event.

The event raised $12,860.95 for Bronwyn’s family. Overall pledges and donations total more than $20,500. The Huffman family is also holding a benefit for Bronwyn on April 13 at the CLE Coliseum. Tickets are $5.

Photo by Emma Smith/ARGUS