Air cadets shave heads for comrade with cancer

Deni Lund, 19, of Lacombe, was diagnosed with leukemia, cancer of the blood, in September. On Nov. 10 this air cadet watched the hair of her fellow teenagers fall to the floor at the Ponoka Air Cadet Hall to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation and show their support for her.

By Jasmine Franklin

She stood there in a baby blue T-shirt with her family and peers laughing as she held up a “Bald is Beautiful” license plate.

Deni Lund, 19, of Lacombe, was diagnosed with leukemia, cancer of the blood, in September. On Nov. 10 this air cadet watched the hair of her fellow teenagers fall to the floor at the Ponoka Air Cadet Hall to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation and show their support for her.

“To me this feels special,” Lund said. “I’m really impressed with how much money they raised and how many wanted to shave their heads.”

Eleven cadets shaved their heads and the team raised $1,500 that will be given to the Terry Fox Foundation. The team doubled what they raised last year.

“This is great,” said mother Laurie Lund. “It’s amazing how much community support there has been.”

Chase Meredith, 13, smiled while watching his brown locks fall into his lap.

“I don’t know her personally but it’s just terrible,” Meredith said. “I’m glad we can do something to help support her.”

Meredith is no stranger to shaving his head for cancer however, the young cadet has been raising money and going bald for the past three or four years.

“The cause is great,” Meredith said.

After graduation from high school in June, Lund moved away from her life in Rimbey and re-joined her mother in Lacombe upon being diagnosed with luekemia.

Leukemia cancer starts in the stem cells of the bone marrow that produce blood cells, often earning the name of cancer of the blood. According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma website, every four minutes another person is diagnosed with leukemia.

There are four main types of leukemia and each develops differently.

“We’ve really grouped together,” Ms. Lund said. “You do what you have to do.”

Lund receives treatments in Edmonton and is currently in remission while receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

She is waiting for a bone marrow match, “hopefully it comes soon.”

Lund has been an Ponoka air cadet for eight years, and continues to try and help out whenever she can.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 166,400 new cases of cancer in 2008 appeared and 73,800 people died from cancer in Canada that year.

Cancer is the leading cause of premature death in Canada.