Sara Kaljuvee and her mother, Lynne Rohlan. Kaljuvee, a member of the National Women’s Rugby Sevens team lost her mother to cancer eight months before the 2016 Olympic Games. She and her team members are raising funds and awareness for cancer research by dying their hair bold colours. (Photo courtesy of Sara Kaljuvee)

Canada’s Women’s Rugby Sevens raising funds for cancer research

Team players dying hair bold colours ahead of tournament in Langford

Some of the Canadian Rugby Women’s Sevens players will be taking the pitch in Langford with brightly coloured hair this weekend.

The team is taking part in the Colour to Conquer fundraising campaign, in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and world-leading cancer research.

A Canadian Rugby Women’s Sevens team member, Sara Kaljuvee, is an honourary chair with the initiative. She lost her mother to cancer when she was 22, eight months before going to the 2016 summer Olympic Games.

“That was a pretty hard chapter of my life,” Kaljuvee said. “She’s definitely my inspiration and has definitely shown me strength my whole life.”

READ ALSO: Women’s Rugby Sevens captains gather in Langford ahead of this weekend’s matches

When Kaljuvee was 12, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She battled it for 10 years and passed away from breast cancer which had spread to become bone and brain cancer as well.

“She went through a lot,” Kaljuvee said. “It was probably the most challenging and low part of my life…I think a lot of the grieving actually came after the Olympics.”

This is the second year that Kaljuvee is part of the campaign. Last year, she dyed her hair bright pink ahead of the Langford sevens series. She said she saw many people in the crowd who dyed their hair in support of the cause as well.

“Just getting the community involved was the best part,” Kaljuvee said. “Seeing so many people who had dyed their hair in the stands last year was really moving.”

This year, she’ll be in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens with silvery-blue hair.

Kaljuvee said the bright-coloured hair is a great conversation starter as well, and helps spread the word about the cause.

According to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, nearly one in two Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, making cancer one of the leading causes of death in Canada and world-wide.

READ ALSO: Canada’s Women’s Rugby Sevens hit home turf in strong position

“As Canada’s largest cancer research and care centre, the Princess Margaret is pioneering cutting-edge ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer…but we can’t do it alone,” said Michael Burns, president and CEO of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. “By colouring your hair and raising funds for world-leading cancer research, you’re helping us make great strides in extending the lives of those living with cancer.”

Kaljuvee said she hopes to see more people in the crowd this weekend with their hair coloured.

The Canadian Women’s Rugby Sevens has created a team page on the Colour to Conquer website to raise funds. Their fundraising goal is $5,000 and they are already 26 per cent of the way there.

The team will be fundraising for the month of May and donations can be made at https://pmhf3.akaraisin.com/ui/ColourToConquerEn/team/228688. Individual team players also have their own fundraising pages that can be accessed from the same site.

“I know a lot of other people out there have definitely been affected by cancer in some way,” Kaljuvee said. “I think it’s great that people are coming together from all walks of life to donate and support this great cause.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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