By KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative reporter on October 20, 2021.
On the 35th anniversary of her grandmother’s death, Kendra Melanson, owner of Elementz dance studio in Medicine Hat, donated 19 inches of her hair to Wigs for Kids in honor of her grandmother .
Baba Lim, as her grandmother was called, died of breast cancer on October 13, 1986. Melanson was only two years old at the time, but remembers learning from her family only after being diagnosed. , her grandmother’s health deteriorated rapidly.
“It happened very quickly. She wasn’t feeling well. All of a sudden, five months later, she was living with us (while she was in treatment). She only lived with us for two or three months. three months and then she died, âMelanson told The News.
As she grew older, Melanson became curious about Baba Lim.
âI was browsing through photos and old things and couldn’t find any photos of my Baba,â Melanson said.
After looking for more information, Melanson discovered that Baba Lim was born in 1925 in Ukraine. She immigrated to Saskatoon and raised her two children as a single mother after her husband passed away. She didn’t speak much English, which resulted in the loss of many of her stories with her passing.
“I’m looking at my grandmother now – the other way – and how many times I’ve been able to share stories with her, and the laughs and memories I have with her that I never had with my Baba Lim because the breast cancer took over, “Melanson said.” I wish I could have spent more time with her. ”
Melanson, who is a professional dancer, chose to donate her hair in memory of Baba Lim because she believes the hair symbolizes both her personal values ââand the harmful consequences of cancer.
âI’ve used (my hair) over the years, to show femininity, to show pleasure. And that’s what I wanted to give to a little girl; I wanted to give her the opportunity to show her femininity, to have fun and to have that confidence in her.
Wigs for Kids is an organization that provides real hair wigs to children who have lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, alopecia, burns and other medical conditions.
Melanson hopes his donation will give his recipient confidence as he continues to fight the disease.
â(I want to encourage people to) continue to share the things they can share and bring joy to the community where they can,â Melanson said.