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$17,000 raised by 273 students
N.J. Macpherson School goes door-to-door for hospital foundation donations

Katherine Hudson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, June 21, 2012

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
During the month of May, the student body of N.J. Macpherson School raised $17,000 for the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation - quite a feat for 273 elementary school students.

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N.J. Macpherson School teacher Marilyn Moran, left, and principal Sharon Oldford start shaving the head of assistant principal Randy Caines on June 1 at N.J. Macpherson School. The school raised $17,000 in May for the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation. - photo courtesy of Rebecca Alty

Every year, the school chooses a fundraising endeavour and this year the student body opted to raise money for the hospital's chemotherapy/IV suite. The reward for the students' hard work? Watching assistant principal Randy Caines get his head shaved and it was all the students' idea.

Bryanna Steele, a Grade 5 student, went door to door around her neighbourhood with her parents' permission and ended raking in more than $300.

"The reason I did it is because it's just like everyone else needs a room like a bedroom. If you're in the hospital, everyone has a room. At home you feel more comfortable," said Steele.

Currently, Stanton Territorial Hospital administers chemotherapy and IV treatments in the medical day care unit and the goal is to develop an area dedicated solely to deliver these procedures in a way that allows more privacy and comfort.

According to the foundation's website, the workload of the medical daycare unit has increased 88 per cent from 2001 to 2010. During the same time frame, use of chemotherapy/IV therapy has increased 356 per cent.

"It makes me feel proud (to have raised the money)," said Steele.

Caines said he put the challenge out to the students to see what he would have to do as an incentive to fundraise. Last year, he got taped to the gymnasium wall, and this year, he said goodbye to his hair.

"One student said we should shave his head and some others wanted to put him in a dress, too," laughed Steele.

On June 1, the $17,000 was raised and the students piled into the gym and watched with glee as Caines got his head shaved.

"All the credit goes to the kids," said Caines.

"We wait to do the door-to-door for when it was warmer out and there's no snow and instead of stretching it out over a couple months, we would be very diligent, focused, for one solid month. It keeps the momentum going for a shorter period of time."

He said having the money raised go directly to helping Northerners receive treatment in Yellowknife was a defining factor for the school in choosing Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation as its recipient this year.

"We were amazed by the amount they could raise in just a month. Their school is so close and there's such spirit there," said Rebecca Alty, executive director of the foundation.

She said something Caines said on the head-shaving day stuck with her -- that there's more to school than reading and math.

"There's working as a team and helping out your community. So that's really what they strived to do there," said Alty.

She said the cost of the whole renovation project is about $700,000 and through fundraising efforts thus far, the foundation has acquired more than $100,000 to put toward the project.

"We've got stuff coming up this fall to hopefully finish it off in the next fiscal year," she said.

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