Gaëlle Vuillaume is used to being behind the camera, snapping pictures of people to help tell their stories. A career photographer, she has been volunteering for Pink in the City’s Raise Craze for several years. This year though, it was different for Gaëlle. This year it was personal.
In the summer of 2020, Gaëlle’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a life-changing diagnosis made even more difficult because her mother lives in France, and with COVID-19 they have been kept apart. Chemotherapy treatments began and mother and daughter stayed in touch through every challenging moment. As with so many women, the hair loss was hard. It was expected, but still hard. Her mother made the decision to shave her head instead of experiencing her hair loss. So on October 21st, marking a wonderful fundraising collaboration between Pink in the City and the MUHC Foundation, Gaëlle shaved her own hair for the cause, and for her mother.
“I would like to try and change how people see and stigmatize those with no hair, especially women. Because I think every woman and every person is just beautiful. I wanted to help make a difference for those strong and beautiful women who inspire me everyday.”
Gaëlle Vuillaume, Raise Craze Fundraiser
This year marks the 5th annual Raise Craze, and to date more than $63,000 has been raised for the MUHC Breast Clinic Wellness Program. October is breast cancer awareness month, no better time to tell stories, inspire people and share the hope and heartbreak of every one who has been touched by breast cancer and every one who has lost someone to it.
“I just love working with our partners year after year to fundraise and raise awareness. They never disappoint and are always taking the lead to be the example that giving back is something we can all do.”
Denise Vourtzoumis, President and Co-Founder, Pink in the City
The pandemic has made all fundraising more difficult. But the women involved in this year’s Raise Craze didn’t let that stop them. Gaëlle used social media and reached far and wide in her own circle to spread the word. She encouraged people to give what they could but also to learn about the the disease. Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Canadian women and the second leading cause of death from cancer in women.
“The efforts of Gaelle are very much appreciated and needed. The MUHC Breast Clinic’s Wellness Program provides important advice and help on topics such as body image, exercise, diet and kinesiology to our patients. This program is entirely made possible by generous donations from our patients and through fundraising efforts like this one.”
Dr. Sarkis Meterissian, Professor of Surgery & Oncology, Director of the MUHC Breast Centre, McGill University
Gaëlle personally raised $2,600 this year. Her hair, she says, is a small price for what that money will buy for those in need. If you’d like to donate to Raise Craze or to breast cancer research and care, visit the Raise Craze donation page.