Principal Rogers is an incredibly good sport. She is well respected and loved by students and staff alike. She has a fun loving nature, when her job allows, and she is not afraid to get a little messy for a good cause. Her students have been top fundraisers for a huge cancer research event for 15 years. Last year, the small school with only 400 students raised an incredible $17,000. When Principal Rogers asked them if they could beat that total, they heartily agreed. But they issued a challenge of their own. If they met her challenge, she would be asked to square off against their student champion in a spaghetti eating contest. The catch was that the contestants could not use their hands to eat the pasta. As a bonus, they would also serve her dessert in the form of a coconut cream pie. Students made donations to get their name in a draw for the privilege of serving her the whole pie at once! The students and staff were doing all of this in support of Pedal for Hope, a charity cycling tour that evolved from Cops for Cancer, which is a movement that spread across Canada approximately 25 years ago. It began as one of the first responses to bullying in the schools, even before the problem was receiving attention. Lyle Jorgenson, a 5 year old boy had lost his hair after receiving life-saving chemotherapy. He returned to school and faced ridicule and laughter from students who were too young to understand the impact of their actions. But Lyle was reluctant to go to school as a result. His mother spoke to Sgt. Gary Goulet of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He also had a shaved head and he came up with an idea to make this work in a way that would help Lyle. He convinced a couple of other officers to shave their heads and join him as he escorted Lyle to school. When Lyle was seen in the company of such confident and happy, yet bald officers, the response of the other children was dramatically different. Lyle was suddenly popular and his confidence soared. Officers from across Canada applauded Sgt. Goulet, and they held events where they raised money by shaving their heads for pledges. The head shaves were also done to show support and solidarity with those who had lost their hair after chemotherapy. Pedal for Hope officers are joined by a support crew of dedicated volunteers. Every member of the tour donates their holiday time to make this three week bicycle tour a success. The team pedals from one school to another until they have visited approximately 50. The students are the driving force behind the fundraising. They shave their heads, donate their pony tails, hold bake sales and challenge teachers to fun consequences if they meet their goals. Pedal for Hope has become the biggest pediatric fundraiser in Canada for the Canadian Cancer Society. They have raised more than $5M dollars for research and they have taught kids the value of banding together to make a difference for those who deserve it. Success like this would not be possible without people like Principal Rogers and Mr. Dean Pomeroy, the teacher who runs the fundraising at Westmount Public School. It also wouldn't be possible without the kids who work so hard to raise money. Westmount Public School is very passionate about this cause, at least partly because one of their students, Graham Clarke lost his battle with cancer just over ten years ago. He was a true champion and inspiration and the school honors him with their efforts every year.
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