Three Hills native creates Hair 4 Hope cancer campaign

Essie Watt of Three Hills holds her braided hair in her hand after her mother, Lori Watt, cuts it off on Wed. Feb. 19. The hair will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation. Watt hopes to raise half a million dollars by March 20. ECA Review/Submitted

Essie Watt of Three Hills, Alta., has taken it upon herself to collect $500,000 for cancer research. She has raised $1,400 so far.

After losing loved ones to cancer from an early age, she was determined to make a difference.

“I was inspired to pursue this goal when a loved one of mine became sick with brain cancer after having previously beaten breast cancer,” said Watt.

“Another girl I know, seven years old, has lost her leg and hair to cancer. Even though cancer is all around us I don’t see many people my age taking a proactive approach to their healthcare or pouring into cancer research.”

The campaign launched January 20 and will end on March 20 through the Terry Fox Foundation.

“I started doing some research of my own and decided I wanted to raise awareness and encourage other people to take cancer seriously. On a side note, it’s just silly how much money we pour into things that hurt us versus research that will potentially save our lives.”

She came up with the half a million-dollar figure as she realized the audience she could tap into in Calgary alone was quite expansive.

Despite this, Watt has found donations hard to come by as she found people can have a hard time parting with their hard-earned cash.

Even if the campaign doesn’t go as planned she said, “I definitely want to continue pouring into cancer research and encouraging proactive healthcare. This was a solid first attempt and I learnt a lot.”

Over three weeks ago, the 22-year-old cut her hair which was then donated as well.

“It feels amazing! It’s bold and so low maintenance – except the whole world is windy, the fridge is arctic, and I bump my head a lot more than I realized before,” she joked.

The first time she ever donated her long locks was when she was nine.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.


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