Canadian Olympic luge athlete chops hair for kids

Canadian luge athlete Arianne Jones received a motivational boost on the road to achieving her Olympic dream on Thursday, November 1st. With her sights on Sochi 2014, Jones spent the morning at the track trimming her locks, while giving and receiving inspiration alongside the Kids Cancer Care community.

Encouraged by 12-year-old youth luge athlete Sam Judson, who trimmed her hair for charity last year, Calgary’s pint-sized 22-year-old Jones decided to lend a foot of her locks and raise money for Kids Cancer Care too. Jones plans to donate the hair to Angel Hair for Kids who provides wigs at no cost to children who lose their hair to cancer or other diseases.
“As an athlete you become so focused on the day-to-day highs and lows along the journey to achieving your Olympic dreams, so it is easy to lose perspective on the real challenges in life that others are facing,” said Jones. She and Judson established an immediate connection with Judson, someone she handed used equipment down to, as they are both tiny in stature.
“To see my young teammate, and someone I was helping along, be so tuned in to the adversities of these incredible children who have battled cancer made me realize that to truly represent Canada, I have to do more than just compete. I believe the true spirit of being an Olympian realizes itself when you leverage your privileged position as a role model to positively impact others, while bringing awareness to important causes like Kids Cancer Care.”
As is the case with far too many Canadians, the connection to cancer also exists within the luge community.
Calgary luger and cancer survivor, 12-year-old Chris Rowell emceed the event, introducing Jones to an enthusiastic audience of teens. Samantha Andres, whose battle scars with cancer include an amputated leg, shared her story of triumph and adversity before joining Rowell and Judson at the start line to make the first cut in Jones’ waist-length hair.
“It is events like today that encourage other young kids like myself to fight and believe they too will achieve their goals of getting healthy,” said Rowell. “Many of us understand how hard it must be to have cancer, but big-hearted people like Arianne, along with organizations like Kids Cancer Care, allow us to forget about our disease for a few hours and for that I am grateful. Lucky for me, I am fully recovered. Now I feel like I can give back, and have committed to raising money to help make battling cancer a little easier for other children.”
Following an inspirational presentation that culminated with getting the most memorable haircut of her life, Jones and a group of her Olympic teammates gave the kids a luge demonstration before giving them a chance to hop on a sled and take a trip down the icy chute themselves. 
“Part of my goal in doing this was to inspire these kids and give them a little hope, but I am blown away by their strength, positive attitude and outlook on life and sport,” said Jones. “As a result, I assure you the big learning in all of this is I am the one who is leaving here today most inspired. I’m more motivated now than ever to chase my dreams having witnessed first hand the extraordinary challenges these kids face. They will have a special seat on my sled with me as we slide closer to Sochi.”
Jones’ journey towards achieving her Olympic dream continues November 24-25 when the World Cup season kicks off in Igls, Austria. Canada will play host to the 2013 World Championships at the Whistler Sliding Centre, February 1-2, 2013.
In addition to donating her hair, Arianne also raised over $2,500 for Kids Cancer Care.  Watch the video from the event here.