Meet Samantha Brown, a first-year student at the University of Calgary, earning her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree in Biomedical Sciences. At the age of six, Sam started a personal initiative called BraidShare. Since then, she has donated her hair three times, a total of 48.5 inches! In addition to her hair donation, along with friends and family, she has raised over $10,000 for Kids Cancer Care! This is her story…

I was first inspired to donate my hair at the age of six while watching my favorite TV show, Zoom. On the show I watched a vignette of a girl cutting and donating her hair to make a wig. This led to a family discussion about cancer and illness-related hair loss and why it is important for people to donate their hair. I had always had longer hair, so I thought, “Hey, I want to do that too!” Two years later, when I was eight years old, I did my first Hair Harvest, donating 12 inches of my hair. Around this time, I decided that there should be a name for the donating of my hair. I came up with the name BraidShare, a name I felt, and still believe, best represents what it is I do—I share my braids. Ever since then, the name just stuck.

Three years later, in 2005, I was ready to donate my hair again. This time, I wanted to do some fundraising as well. My sister Amanda (who had donated her hair with me the first time along with our mom) and I came across the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta’s Camp Kindle. Camp Kindle is a special camp for kids and their siblings who have been touched by cancer. The cost of the camp is covered 100% by donations, so their families don’t have to pay anything. Summer camp has always been (and still is) a favorite part of our year, and we believe that even if you are sick or your family is going through a rough time, you should still get to have fun and go to camp. So, together we crocheted and sold bookmarks that looked like little braids. We raised $500 and donated our hair again. This time I donated 21.5 inches, and Amanda donated 18 inches.
We didn’t stop there. To raise more even more money, we needed to do more than sell bookmarks, so we decided to organize a craft fair as a fundraiser. All of the money from renting vendor tables went to Kids Cancer Care. This was extremely successful and we organized our fundraiser holiday craft fair for four years, each time raising over $1,000.

In 2007, we donated our hair again (15 inches for me, 12 inches for Amanda), but this time we were joined by our brother Dennis who participated in the Shave Your Lid for a Kid program. He has now done a total of three shaves so far). To date, the three of us have raised over $10,000 for Camp Kindle. 
On Wednesday, April 18th, I will be doing my fourth hair harvest. I want to raise another $1,000 to help send another kid to camp. With the support of my community, I have raised $721 in only a couple of days!-Sam

Learn more about Camp Kindle