Raising funds for youth mental health programs at CHEO one haircut at a time
OTTAWA -- When Chris Hofley, the communications manager for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), decided it was time to cut his hair he also wanted to do something to raise funds to support mental health services at CHEO.
So, on the evening of May 21, he sent out a tweet and posted on Facebook saying that he would shave his head if he was able to raise $1,000 for CHEO.
The response went beyond what he was expecting. By 4 p.m. on Sunday, he had raised more than $27,000 for mental health services at CHEO and he now had a team helping push to total even higher.
“I think, like every good idea, it started off Friday afternoon after work sitting on the deck with my roommate who is good at enabling my wacky ideas,” Hofley said. “I put it out on Twitter and Facebook and asked people if they would pay, I was hoping to raise a thousand dollars and it took off a little bit. I’m blown away by the support of people.”
As his social media post gained traction, other familiar faces around the capital pitched in. Ottawa Coun. Tim Tierney was one of the first saying he would shave his head if they reached $2,000, and then his wife Jenny agreed to part with her blond locks if they hit $5,000. Those milestones were crossed early on and the Tierneys shaved their heads early Sunday afternoon outside on their front lawn.
“I saw my friend Chris post he was just trying to get to one thousand dollars to do something good for the community. I said, 'Forget that; we can do better! I said what about two grand,” Tim Tierney said. “Our own family, our own children have been affected by mental health they are now advocates for mental health and we see it all around us.”
“Anything for CHEO, especially for their mental health uni. They need all the resources possible during the pandemic,” Jenny Tierney said.
Steve Lloyd of Bell Media’s TSN 1200 shaved his head at $3,000. MOVE 100’s Stuntman Stu pledged to eat a Hawaiian pizza when the total reached the $25,000 mark (Stu famously believes pineapple does not belong on pizza) and Matt Skube, the host of CTV Ottawa’s News at Five, will part with his head of hair if the campaign reaches $75,000 before the CHEO Telethon June 6.
“I have not had a haircut like that since I was six or seven,” Skube said. “My wife will be the one cutting it, so I had to make a big number. We have two weeks to do it! The response so far has been fantastic. I’m ready and I’m in!”
Youth mental health services at CHEO have been strained by the pandemic, as the demand for services has increased dramatically. The funds raised go directly to CHEO and will help provide some relief to those looking for help.