TORONTO — Jonah Boulakia’s smile was a mile wide as his brown locks fell to the ground. Surrounded by family and friends, Jonah, 6, gave up his hair to aid the Canadian Cancer Society in its search for a cure for cancer.
Jonah’s dad, Jonathan, clippers in hand, did the momentous shave right down to the skin, at the Boulakia family home in Toronto on April 21.
Jonah told The CJN, “Sometimes when you have cancer your hair falls off, and I am shaving my head to help people who have hair that fell out. There are lots of people I know who have cancer, and I am doing this to help them and everyone in the world who has cancer.”
Jonah and his mother, Hannah, asked friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours and his teachers and classmates at John Ross Roberston Jr. Public School to make donations in exchange for Jonah’s promising to shave his head.
“I made flyers and distributed them in the neighbourhood, prepared ads in my school bulletin, and have been talking about it with my classmates. My parents created a Facebook and LinkedIn page for people to support my cause,” Jonah said. His efforts raised almost $3,000.
“I think I would like to do this again next year and raise even more money,” he said.
Sacha Michna, co-ordinator of corporate and community partnerships at the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario division, said that “with the help of his parents, Jonah has done an outstanding job of fundraising. For someone so young to recognize that cancer is something that affects everyone, and that we can all do our part to fight back, is really quite special. It’s great to see that even a little guy like Jonah can have a big impact in the fight against cancer.”
Jonah’s mom said that her son is a “typical 6-year-old who tends to be quite mischievous, but underneath is an extremely aware and very caring little boy. It was his decision to shave his head and raise funds, having been around too many people who are going through cancer. It is far more than a six-year-old should see. Jonah pushed us to make this happen.”
His father added, “He wanted to feel empowered and make a difference – and he is making a big difference.”
Jonah’s uncle, Mark Griller, said that “Jonah has done a lot of work to raise money for a cause he believes in. I think it gives him good perspective, as he knows some people who have cancer and I think it has broadened his view on things. It is nice to see someone so young taking a positive action.”
Another of Jonah’s uncles, Charles Boulakia, added, “I think this is fantastic. It is never too young to care – very brave of Jonah to want to take an active and proactive step like this.”
Christopher Rzepa, the principal of John Ross Robertson, said that Jonah’s “actions show that he has made a strong personal connection with a cause that is near and dear to his heart… It is absolutely wonderful to see one of our young students make such a grand statement, and show such caring and compassion.”
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