Westside’s 20th Annual Pink Day: Making strides to combat breast cancer

November 2, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Danielle Williams

Westside Secondary School contributes immensely to breast cancer awareness with its 20th annual Pink Day. On Oct. 27, over 900 students participated in a day of fun and generosity, raising over $16,500 for breast cancer research. 

An assembly was held, along with several fundraising activities leading up to Pink Day, resulting in Westside far surpassing its fundraising goal of $10,000. 

A guest speaker from Cancer Canada spoke to Westside students about the impact that fundraising has on research and the hope that comes with it.

“It warms our hearts to see every student in the building buy in to the Pink Day spirit,” enthused Rob Marchildon, Pink Day organizer and guidance counsellor at Westside. “The ‘Pie a teacher in the Face’ [event] was a huge hit as was the hobby horse races. We are so proud of how the Westside Community came together to support such a great cause. So many people – staff, students and community members – worked so hard to make this happen. We are grateful for their generosity and support.”

For 20 years, Westside has commemorated breast cancer awareness with Pink Day after a staff member’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Overwhelmed by the diagnosis, he and other staff members decided to raise money for the cause. 

While recalling the beginning of Pink Day, Kathryn Lloyd, a guidance counsellor at Westside, lauded the amount of money raised. She added the funds generated through Pink Day continue to grow each year. 

The week of fundraising activities leading up to Pink Day on Oct. 27 included a staff raffle, morning school breakfast, video game tournament, tug-of-war contest, three-on-three basketball tournament, and various other exciting events to gather donations. Even going beyond donating money, Westside also donated hair, courtesy of a few Westside students who embraced the idea of shaving their heads to raise more money. 

“The best part of it [Pink Day] is for us to see all the kids come together,” said Lloyd. “Kids come in at the beginning of the week and are like ‘pink yeah yeah’ and then by the end of it they’ve got their mom’s flip flops, they’ve got bath robes, they’re getting pink put in their hair.” She continues, “It’s just the biggest spirit thing that we do and everybody buys into it.”

During Westside’s Pink Day assembly alone, they collected around $1,000 from the students out of pocket, rounding their final donation balance to about $13,000. 

Westside’s plans for next year’s Pink Day are still in the works as they change depending on trends. 

“Usually those things [the events] depend on the kids,” explained Lloyd. “One year we did bottle flipping when that was around, so we ran a huge tournament of that.” 

Westside has been titled the number-one fundraiser in Canada four times in the last two decades, raising more than $200,000 for breast cancer research. 

“I can’t imagine that it [Pink Day] will stop,” said Lloyd. “Unless we’re told we can’t, which I can’t imagine we would ever be told that.” 

With the overwhelming joy of Pink Day, Westside plans to contribute to breast cancer awareness and research for as long as they can until, hopefully, it is not needed anymore.

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