Maryanne Firth / The Tribune
To Maria Alexander, bald is beautiful.
The Port Colborne mother-of-three winced a little but then smiled like a champ as her shoulder-length hair was buzzed away in front of a crowd of hundreds on Sunday.
It may have helped that she wasn’t alone in the brave venture to raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation.
Alexander was accompanied by 12 other courageous, and now bald, people who opted to lop off their locks in the name of cancer research, including Port Colborne Mayor Vance Badawey.
For the past six years, the kickoff to Port Colborne’s annual Terry Fox Run has included the head-shaving spectacle.
More than 200 people participated in Sunday’s run, led by longtime, and now also bald, organizer Nancy Salvage.
The total amount raised by participants at Sunday’s event was $14,780.
While much of the day revolved around laughter, emotions ran high at the kickoff point at H.H. Knoll Lakeview Park.
“It’s so important that people help carry on Terry’s dream,” Salvage said, trying to hold back tears as she addressed the crowd.
When Fox was forced to stop his journey across the country, Canadians made a promise to continue his Marathon of Hope annually until a cure for cancer is found, she said, thanking participants for helping to keep Fox’s legacy and his dream alive.
“I consider this Terry’s day,” she said after the walk began.
“This day is about celebrating him.”
For Alexander, the day was a chance to honour those closest to her who have sadly lost their battle with the invasive disease.
“It feels so good,” she said of her new hairstyle and the meaning behind it.
“The first time you feel that breeze, it hits you. You know you did this for a good cause.”
Alexander’s children Mia, Lily and Ashley helped to support their mom by hosting a recent bake sale and lemonade stand to raise funds. Together, the family raised more than $1,300 for the cause.