The support of friends, fellow students and a caring community at large can go a very long ways.
Recently, 15-year-old Katlyne Glasier, who attends Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“In the cosmetology class, I have a student named Katlyne Glasier,” said Alicia Kneeland-Teasdale, an instructor at the school. “She’s just like every one of my other students, but we started to notice (this fall) that she was losing weight – quite a bit since the beginning of the year.”
Katlyne then started to have medical appointments, and eventually the class learned of her diagnosis.
“Of course, we always step into action because we are very concerned about our students here. We also refer to this as the ‘cos’ family – we are the cosmetology family,” she added, referring to her students who were immediately onboard to help out in any way they could.
“Instantly, I also didn’t hesitate in putting together anything I could do.”
Kneeland-Teasdale said that in the past, the class has run two other hair drives for different girls who have battled cancer or had other obstacles to face.
“What can hairdressers do? We can cut hair, we can colour hair, and we can donate hair. So we starting signing people up! I also got the ‘Be the Change Club’ with Jefferson McClung to help out with posters, advertising and word of mouth – that sort of thing. So they were able to be the ‘background strength’ with the project.”
The hair drive was held the afternoon of Nov. 18th and it was a tremendous success.
“Out in the hallway, when I came back to my classroom from the elementary school, there were 80 people crowded around my doorway,” she explained.
“I came in and said, okay, let’s get set up! And a really neat thing also is that I called quite a few of my ex-students to come and help,” she said, pointing out that many of these young women are now of course busy working in the industry.
“I was able to call 12 of them and six or seven responded and were able to come in and do this.”
These included Avery Marko, Bethany Auton, Caela Henderson, Lindsay Jones, Ashlynn McKinnon and Avhie Baker.
“They all came back to their old stomping gronds to help out, and they didn’t even know Katlyne or her family very well at all. So it was really giving of them to come back and help with this,” she said.
“Once everyone got set up, we started to bring the clients in. Each of us would have two or three clients going at the same time. We’d do purple streaks, as purple is the ribbon colour for Hodgkins Lymphoma. We had a few men and boys get their heads shaved as well, and then we had quite a few people with very long hair donate some of it, which will be sent away to the Canadian Cancer Society. We had enough hair here to make two wigs,” she added.
Ultimately, the class also raised more than $2,500 for the family.
“I learned that the medications, even with coverage, can be upwards of $500 to $600 dollars apiece per month,” she said.
Other expenses Katlyne’s family will face include hotel stays and travel while she is receiving treatment.
“What really blows me away about this community is that we rally,” noted Kneeland-Teasdale.
“We rally so well. When I put out the call initially I didn’t think I would get the response that I did beyond the school community. But when people were in here hugging, crying and sharing their stories, it really is about community. There is a camaraderie that has developed. It’s ‘all for one, and one for all’ in Stettler! We really have a good thing going here.”
Katlyne’s friend Shaelee Schwartz said that the hair drive was really important for the class to host because,”She’s really close to us, and it was really hard for us to hear about this. But she’s been in really good spirits about everything.
“It was really good to see 80 people come here. Katlyne’s got a really big personality, and it showed how many people she touches. That was really good.”
Keirsten Brittain, another close friend of Katlyne’s, noted that supporting Katlyne meant a lot to her also because several people in her family has fought cancer in the past.
“I was happy to see everyone helping and being there for her. I’m just glad there is so much support for her.”
Taylor Roth, another good pal, agreed.
“It was crazy to see how many people came out – it was a lot more than I expected. We didn’t even know some of the people that were there. There were lots of students from the younger grades who came and supported her, too.
“And lots of people from the community. I thought it was going to be mostly people from our grade, but there were a whole bunch.”
Taylor described Katlyne, whom she has known since Grade seven, as a pretty great and caring young woman.
“We’ve gotten a lot closer over the years. She’s very outgoing, and she’s always happy, too. She is always there for you. You can talk to her any time.”
Also planned is a Kindness for Katlyne event to be held at the Botha Community Hall on Dec. 6th starting at 5:30 p.m. Sponsorship and auction items can be directed to Donna at 403-740-9345.