GRAEME BRUCE/BRANDON SUN
Michael Wenham, 14, was at Shoppers Mall Sunday raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society in honour of local choral director Elizabeth Grant, a.k.a. “Mama G,” who has been battling lymphoma since being diagnosed in January.
A 14-year-old raising money in honour of community fixture Elizabeth Grant a.k.a. "Mama G" blew past his initial goal of $2,000, raising $3,809.50 in just four weeks.
Michael Wenham is taking pledges ahead of shaving his head on April 19 for the well-known choral director, who has been battling mantle cell lymphoma since January.
Wenham continued his drive on Sunday, taking donations at a table in Shoppers Mall and he’ll also be at Walmart tonight from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the main entrance.
The choir director is weaved tightly in the fabric of Brandon’s music community as the founding director of the Brandon Conservatory Chorale and the 40-year musical director at First Presbyterian Church.
"I’ve known her since I was four years old," Wenham said, who has been taking choral lessons from Mama G for almost 10 years. "Everyone in our choir just loves her so much, I just think I wanted to do something to help her."
Grant is so well known in fact, Wenham said he received pledges for his campaign from as far away as Germany.
Wenham’s father Tom was also at the mall helping his son take donations and he said the school has gone above and beyond supporting the campaign.
Before the teen loses his hair on April 19, the school is having a hat day, during which students can donate $1 to wear a hat in school.
The funds are going to the Manitoba division of the Canadian Cancer Society, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
This fundraising campaign coincides with the society's nationwide daffodil campaign this month.
According to the society, it has provided $1.2 billion for cancer research since its beginning in 1938 as it marks its diamond anniversary.
"While our 75th anniversary is an occasion to celebrate our contribution to the success in the fight against cancer, it is clear more work needs to be done," said Mark McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society in Manitoba.
Wenham’s head will be shaved in the King George School gymnasium at 11 a.m. on April 19.
Donations to the campaign can be made by calling 204-726-5005 or visit his Facebook page "Michael Wenham’s Head Shave" for more information.
"It’s kind of paying her back with our time," Wenham said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 8, 2013