Shavathon show support

10 March 2011 | Story by Newsroom

Alumna Hélène van der Merwe and her children Rowan, Julian and Vivienne Banks joined UCT staff and students who had their hair snipped, sprayed, cropped or coloured at the annual CANSA Shavathon on 4 March, held at the Medical School.

Shavathon participants Shavathon participants
Close shave: Students Nichole Groener and Frank Stephens gamely got their locks removed at the CANSA Shavathon event. Family affair: The family and friends of the late Dr Doug Banks also took part in the CANSA Shavathon event. Seen here is (from left, back) Sarah Shamley, Rowan Banks, Hélène van der Merwe and Megan Young; and (from left, middle) Julian Banks, Vivienne Banks, Dave Gale and Henri van der Merwe; and (front) Chip Snaddon.

Their participation in the event, which aims to create awareness of and raise funds for the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), was especially touching to the family. Hélène's husband, Dr Doug Banks, also a UCT graduate, died of liver cancer in July 2008.

Minutes before getting her hair done, Van der Merwe explained the importance of taking part in the initiative: "My hair is going to grow again, but the many of the changes that cancer sufferers face may be permanent. This is a small thing to show support to cancer victims."

After her husband's death, his friends and colleagues established the Doug Banks Renewable Energy Vision Trust, which aims to build intellectual capital in the field of renewable energy.

Dave Gale, chairman of the Trust's board of trustees, said: "The more funds available for cancer research, the more possibilities of finding a cure for cancer."

The Commerce Student Council and the Kopano Residence's house committee also hosted CANSA Shavathon events at UCT last week. The initiative is growing with more people taking part every year.

View more pictures of the Shavathon on Flickr.

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