“I wanted to grow my hair out during COVID,” says Saint-Chrysostome native Mathieu Rouleau. He figured lockdown was the perfect time to experiment with his golden tresses. Fast-forward three years, and his fun pandemic project has grown into a 14-inch mane – and a serious fundraiser for the cancer-support organization, Leucan.
Following a recent trip to Portugal, Rouleau decided there was no way he would keep the long hair over the summer. “There is a lot of hair,” he laughs, noting his blond locks are also quite thick. He had previously pledged to donate his hair to the CanDonate Hair Foundation so it could be used to create free wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments. Then, in March, he also reached out to Leucan and proposed a fundraising campaign based on his hair odyssey that would culminate in a livestreamed haircutting event.
“Everybody has a relationship to cancer,” he says, explaining that the motivation behind his campaign is to raise funds for the organization, which supports cancer-stricken children and their families. As of press time, the fundraiser had brought in $6,825 by over 90 donors.
At 11 a.m. on April 29, Rouleau was seated in his mother-in-law’s salon with his hair divided into four 12-inch braids. After inhaling deeply, he spoke directly to those watching live on Facebook to thank them for their support. He then glanced to the side, as one braid after another was lopped off.
“I’ll be going back to a very short cut for now,” Rouleau said during an interview the day before. “I’m probably going to miss it,” he laughed, while suggesting it was more of a love/hate relationship that he had with his hair. He admits to having been surprised by the maintenance, the headaches from having it tied up all day, and the importance of finding a good elastic – “All the little things my sister has been dealing with since she was small!” He adds, “It’s a good conversation starter,” before acknowledging that his mother was especially looking forward to his return to a shorter do.
When asked how he was feeling now that the moment had arrived, he said he has no regrets. “I have a connection to the people I am doing this for,” he said, noting how important family and friends are to those fighting cancer. “It takes a village to take care of people dealing with that!” he exclaimed, noting that Leucan is like an extended community.
Rouleau’s fundraiser will remain open for donations online until May 10 on the Leucan website, at: www.webleucan.com/mathieurouleau.