iN VIDEO: Kamloops teacher’s assistant shaves head to support friend with cancer - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: Kamloops teacher’s assistant shaves head to support friend with cancer

When Kaycee Konowalchuk (left) found out her fellow colleague and good friend, Jamie Killam, would lose her hair during chemotherapy, there was no way she was going to let her go through that alone.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Kaycee Konowalchuk
April 25, 2019 - 1:16 PM

KAMLOOPS — When education assistant Kaycee Konowalchuk found out her good friend and colleague, Jamie Killam, would have to go through chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she instantly knew she was going to shave her head to support her through her tough journey.

“I told her right off the bat, if you lose your hair, mine's going to,” Konowalchuk says. “It was never even a question.”

The two women work as education assistants with School District 73. When they met about three years ago they instantly became friends. Back in December, Konowalchuk says Killam told her she found a lump in her breast. Eventually the lump was removed however one of the six lymph nodes that were also taken out, had traces of cancer cells.

“So that’s when [the doctor] decided to give her chemo,” she says. “I told her what my plan was, I said ‘I am going to shave my head when you shave your head so just let me know when and she of course was like ‘No no no, you don’t have do that, you’re crazy.’”

Konowalchuk says she wouldn’t let Killam convince her otherwise.

“I said ‘Well, I am kind of crazy, so it’s happening,’” she says.

To help support her friend further, Konowalchuk thought if she was able to raise a certain amount of money for the cancer society, she would shave her head in front of an audience.

“My goal was $200 and if I reached that goal on GoFundMe then I would go on Facebook and do the haircutting live and I surpassed that, we reached over $1,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society,” she says.

Both women decided to shave their heads together.
Both women decided to shave their heads together.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Kaycee Konowalchuk

Konowalchuk says she still has people sending her money wanting to donate.

“I still have money that needs to be deposited into the [GoFundMe] account, like it’s crazy how much support has poured out,” she says.

For both women, it was an emotional experience shaving off their hair.

“I started shaving [Jamie’s] hair, and then I dropped the clippers and broke them so we had to run up the street with her hair half shaved [to get new clippers],” she says with a laugh. “It was pretty wonderful doing it, it was emotional at first because that’s when it felt real.”

Konowalchuk says as a friend of someone who is going through cancer treatment there is only so much you can do to support a person.

“When I shaved mine it felt great, hair is such a statement for so many women and Jamie has always said she could do without her hair but in a situation where you don’t have a choice and that choice is taken away from you, I just felt like that’s not something she should have to go through without having a friend to support her,” she says.

Konowalchuk says they are both enjoying their new hairless looks. The education assistant says if she has one message to spread to the public, it’s to take advantage of early cancer screening tests.

“Early detection for any kind of cancer is huge,” she says. “Listen to your body. As far as Jamie goes, she caught hers really early so she got a very positive diagnosis.”

She adds that if anybody is wondering about something, don’t be afraid, and go to the doctor.

“The earlier you catch these things, there is a better chance you have of beating it,” she says.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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