With music blaring, about 30 students peddled furiously on their bicycles going nowhere. Each participant was sponsored per kilometre travelled and students could cycle for the full five hours or in relay teams.There was strong competition as to who could cycle the fastest – This was student engagement at its best. I found it humbling that these students were putting themselves through this, for the sake of Hospice. However as I spent more time in the hall I realised that for many this was more than just fun, or simply fundraising. Many had been personally touched by cancer.
At the barber shop students queued up to have their heads shaved for R30. As I watched, my heart would contract as yet another one lost their locks. I realised I couldn’t just stand by and watch. I stepped up and offered my own head to be shaved to a number four. I have to say I was a little anxious about how it would look and what people would say. But it was here in the queue that I noticed several students, after being shaved, wrote on pieces of paper their comments such as “For you mom”, “I will never forget” and “Always remembered”. Their words and actions were a memorial to friends and family lost to cancer. This was a poignant moment. I realised that between the loud music, the ‘hair’ jokes and the fun there was also space created where loss could be acknowledged and loved ones remembered.