Larry Kosowan held a fundraiser for the Scarborough Women's Centre the evening of April 17, while also cutting and then  donating his locks of hair.

Scarborough resident donates hair for cancer at fundraiser for women’s centre

“Almost cut my hair, it happened just the other day,” sings Scarborough resident Larry Kosowan, playing his acoustic steel-string guitar.

Kosowan played the song Almost Cut My Hair by Crosby, Stills and Nash in the back of the Working Dog Saloon on Tuesday night.

Ironically, Kosowan did cut his hair. All 12 inches of his flowing, dark brown locks.

Kosowan has been growing out his hair for the past three years, in order to have it long enough to cut and donate to the Canadian Cancer Society. Partnered with Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths initiative, the Canadian Cancer Society aims to make wigs for patients who have lost their hair as a result of medical treatment.

Before the cutting begins, Kosowan says that although he is fine with having long hair, “it has its moments.”

“It gets tangled, it gets food in it, and things that I didn’t expect [happens],” he said. “It’s not easy having long hair.”

He has also been raising money for the Scarborough Women’s Centre. Donors include his friends, family, and work associates at the Toronto East Detention Centre. His sister, Lynda Kosowan, is the executive director of the Scarborough Women’s Centre and also attended the event. She has been at the centre for about 26 years.

When you think of someone going through the indignity of losing their hair for a medical treatment … it’s something I can do to make it easier for them.

— Larry Kosowan

“We’re really delighted that he’s taking this initiative and appreciate his support,” she said, adding that she thinks “it’s lovely” that he brought together both the Scarborough Women’s Centre fundraiser and donated his hair for patients who have lost their own.

“Cancer seems to touch everybody, everywhere,” Larry Kosowan said. “When you think of someone going through the indignity of losing their hair for a medical treatment … it’s something I can do to make it easier for them.”

Kosowan has his hair cut by Gordana Andonov, his hair stylist for about 10 years. Andonov is the owner of La Fair Hair Salon at 3462 Danforth Ave. in Scarborough.

Andonov said it isn’t the first time she cut someone’s hair to be donated to help cancer patients, but it was the first time she was a part of a donation that also involved a fundraiser.

“The person decides to grow their hair and donate it. They come over here, I wash their hair, ponytail it, cut it nicely, put it in an envelope and they do the rest themselves,” she said. “But we’re doing this because we’d also like to raise money for the Scarborough Women’s Centre.”

Gordana begins to brush, ponytail then cut Kosowan’s hair with a crowd of about 50 cheering people in the saloon.

With half of his hair cut and the other half in small pony tails, Kosowan stands up and continues to play Crosby, Stills and Nash.

After the song, Andonov cuts the rest of Kosowan’s hair. The flowing brown locks are then placed in an envelope, ready to be sent off to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Before the event took place, Kosowan raised about $1,400 for Scarborough Women’s Centre from not only supporters close to home, but across Canada.

“Facebook is handy for promoting an event,” he said. “We had supporters from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and family in Kelowna, B.C.”

Lynda Kosowan said the Scarborough Women’s Centre’s Facebook page also promoted her brother’s event, but it was coordinated entirely by him.

“On our Facebook, there’s a shout out to the fact that we are doing this,” she said. “So it’s all his initiative, he got all the arrangements.”

As for donations, some donated in person before and during the event, while others donated online through www.CanadaHelp.org.

“He set up a giving page where you can directly make a donation to the Women’s Centre just by clicking on this link,” she said. “I’m really impressed with what he’s been able to do.”

At the saloon, Larry Kosowan organized a 50/50 draw for the prize money, as well as a raffle where ticket holders win prizes like a palm reading gift certificate, pens, and various hair care products.

In total,he raised about $4,000 for the Scarborough Women’s Centre. The centre is for women who are in transition to become economically and emotionally independent.

“[They are] often dealing with issues around emotional health, newcomer integration, abuse, poverty, and not sure what they want to do with their life,” she said. “[They] are looking to get more direction, more skills and to feel connected with others so that they have the motivation to move forward.”

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