Olivia, 6, donates hair for cancer victims

July 14, 2016   ·   0 Comments

CancerFundraiser-OliviaCancer is a disease that touches all of us in some way. Whether it’s directly, by developing any of the types under its scope, or through a loved one, relative, or friend who develops it.

It is estimated that in 2015 alone, there were 196,900 new cases of cancer, and approximately 78,000 people died. In Canada, cancer is the leading cause of death, making up 30 percent of all fatality statistics.

While some are fortunate to not encounter cancer’s affects until much later in life, others, like six-year-old Olivia Halfyard, are introduced to it at a much younger age. The Halfyard family has been hit hard with cancer over the last few years. Her Aunt Loretta is a survivor of breast cancer, but last year, Olivia’s cousin Priscilla passed away after a battle with synovial sarcoma.

Olivia decided she wanted to take action and find a way to both honour the battles her family members have faced, and help others who are facing it now.

“I decided I wanted to cut my hair for cancer patients that lose their hair during treatment,” explained Olivia. “I feel nervous that I am cutting my hair, but it makes me feel special that I can give hair to people who don’t have any.”

Along with cutting her hair, Olivia has challenged people to donate funds to help her raise money for two separate institutions: Bethell House hospice in Inglewood and a non-profit organization called Wings of Hope.

“It warms our heart to see Olivia doing this,” explained Phyllis Halfyard, Olivia’s mother. “It is very overwhelming. You never understand the impact you have for the recipient of the hair. It makes me feel like a proud parent because my daughter wants to help others.”

Both Phyllis, and her husband Glenn, say that seeing their daughter so passionate about raising funds and awareness for something that has affected their family so deeply shows them they are having a positive impact on her life.

“It lets us know that we are doing the right thing as parents in raising her to be so selfless,” added Phyllis. “To watch our niece lose her hair had a very powerful impact on all of us. So much so that Olivia wanted to help those with no hair.”

Phyllis and Glenn set up a GoFundMe account to help their daughter extend her fundraising reach. Olivia set a goal of $500, and as of the Citizen’s press time, she had already raised $393. Regardless of how much is raised, the funds will be split between the two recipients.

“Bethell House is an amazing palliative care facility that was very supportive and compassionate when our niece passed away,” explained Glenn. “We are also supporting Wings of Hope, a non-profit organization that supports cancer patients who are unable to work due to chemotherapy and the effects of their cancer. It was an amazing support system for our sister who survived breast cancer.”

He added that they have been blown away by Olivia’s determination to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

“We are completely proud of Olivia,” he said. “Being only six, yet having as much courage as she does is awesome.”

While this particular fundraiser is a big step for Olivia, one of the points the family wants to drive home is that there are so many ways people can get involved. Whether it’s through other charities, or supporting cancer patients and their families during their struggles, there is always something that can be done.

As for Olivia, one of the biggest things she wants people to know is that they shouldn’t be afraid to lose their luscious locks in order to help someone who doesn’t have a choice in whether or not their hair stays.

“[People] should cut their hair for cancer, because it helps others,” said Olivia. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, you should help out.”

To make a donation to Olivia’s campaign and find out more about their family’s story, you can visit her campaign page at

For anyone who hasn’t heard the incredible story of her cousin Priscilla’s battle with synovial sarcoma, an incredibly rare form of cancer, Oliva asks that they visit the website set up in her honour,

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