FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Participating in his fourth Bluey Day event, Shawn “Junior” Van Santen wants this year to be his biggest contribution.
Having grown his hair for over two years, Junior says this is definitely the most hair he will have donated to show support for those who have been touched by cancer in one way or another.
“This is the longest my hair’s been out of the four times I participated. Right now, it’s about 16 inches long,” says Van Santen.
The event is about more than just growing hair for Van Santen. He participates for several people close to him that have battled the disease.
“My grandfather passed away from cancer. Then my coworker, who I worked with for about eight years, got diagnosed in early January of 2017, and in September, he ended up passing away. My one friend that lives in Dawson Creek has beat cancer, and one of my friend’s mothers ended up losing her battle a few years ago. So it definitely hits close to home for me.”
Having surpassed his $1,500 goal already with $2,350 raised for the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation, Junior is focused on climbing the donation leaderboard to the top.
Van Santen has been handing out forms to businesses around town, trying to bolster the donations.
“I want to try and catch Jim [Reeder] if I can. He’s at about $6,050 right now, and since I’ve reached my goal, why not shoot for the top?”
When asked which celebrity he’s been compared to with his flowing locks, Van Santen mentions a certain rocker with a soft spot for the Buffalo Bills football team. It works too, because Van Santen is also a Bills fan.
“Jon Bon Jovi.”
While he’s not used to having such long hair, Junior says he has identified an otherwise non-existent foe.
“The worst part about growing it out is the wind.”
Van Santen says another unsung hero in his campaign is his fiancée.
“She doesn’t like the long hair, so she cant wait for it to be over. But she understands it’s a little sacrifice for the greater good.”
Van Santen’s donated hair will go to Wigs For Kids B.C., where it will be made into wigs for kids who have lost their hair through cancer treatment or another serious illness.
The organization requires a minimum of 10 inches of hair, so Van Santen’s donation will go a long way.
“It’s a good cause, there are kids that will get some wigs from my hair, and we’ll try and get a new CT scanner for the Peace Region.”
Bluey Day is taking place May 15th at the Fort St. John Curling Club. To donate to Van Santen’s goal, visit his fundraising page.
All donations go towards the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation.