There is nothing Kristiane Sormany Albert wouldn’t do for her students – including cutting her hair for the first time in 29 years.
Sormany Albert will be having eight to nine inches of her long, tight curls chopped off to raise money for cancer and more importantly, to support a special little girl.
Lola Audet was supposed to be in Sormany Albert’s kindergarten/Grade 1 split class at
École Mer et Montagne this year but instead the six-year old is battling cancer at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
“As soon as I heard about Lola one of the first things I thought was ‘I should do something with my hair.’ One of the things Lola’s worried about is going to school without hair,” says Sormany Albert who plans to lose her locks in front of the entire school as soon as $2,000 is raised.
She hopes that will be by the end of April but if not, she will shed her locks at the end of the school year and donate the hair to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients.
Sormany Albert says she decided when she was just three-years old she wanted to wear her hair long, and aside from the odd trim, has not cut her hair since. Although going with a short do will be a huge change, she’s not nervous about losing her hair.
“I’m not too worried about it, it seemed like a good reason to do it,” says Sormany Albert.
Micheline Hanson, who works at École Mer et Montagne, says “there isn’t much Kristiane wouldn’t do for her kids.”
And she’s not the only one.
Sormany Albert says when staff and parents at the school first hear about Lola the first thought was ‘what can we do to help?’
“There’s nothing you can do to make it go away but we can do things to help Lola and her family,” said Sormany Albert.
So far the community has generously come through by attending a garage sale, a special movie screening, buying surprise bags at McDonald’s and purchasing select bottles of wine at the Liquor Store in Willow Point Village, all in support of Lola.
An account is also set up at the Campbell River Bottle Depot (1580 Willow Street) and Hanson says the kids at school and go from class to class every day collecting juice boxes and other recyclables.
“They don’t forget,” says Hanson. “It’s just the little things but you know it all adds up.”
Sormany Albert says they just want Lola back at school.
“There’s a big hole in our class without her. Lola has an infectious personality and she loves everything and everyone, you just can’t help loving her and we can’t wait ’til she gets back,” said Sormany Albert.
Lola was flown to Vancouver the night before the first day of school after doctors noticed her hemoglobin count was dangerously low. Since then she has been undergoing intravenous chemotherapy once or twice a week. YANA (You Are Not Alone), based out of the Comox Valley, supplied the family with an apartment last October where it has been living since leaving Ronald McDonald House.
Sormany Albert says recently Lola has been well enough to return to Campbell River for visits and has even spent time at school with her classmates.
“When she comes for half days the kids will sit beside her and rub her arm,” says Hanson. “They know what’s going on. They’re very compassionate.”
Her classmates also send her letters and drawings.
“They know she likes blue so they’ll make pictures with lots of blue in them and the kids make pictures that are funny so that she’ll laugh,” says Sormany Albert.
There is still no guarantee when Lola will be able to come home permanently. It’s possible she could be home by late spring but Sormany Albert says it depends on Lola’s white blood cell counts and how she continues to respond to treatment. Mom Thereasa Martin told the Mirror last September that the type of cancer Lola has does have a high cure rate.
Hanson acknowledges that once Lola is back home, she will still have a long road ahead. Lola’s cancer could go into remission but she will still have to make trips to Vancouver on a regular basis for the first few months for check-ups and follow-up treatment, which is why the school wants to raise as much money as it can for the family.
“We want to support the family for not just right now but for as long as they need it,” says Sormany Albert. “The family has enough to worry about without the financial side. At least the financial part of things is something we can do. It helps to be able to do something.”
Anyone who would like to help support Lola and her family can make a contribution to the Lola Audet Trust Fund at Scotia Bank. Those who are interested in helping the school reach its current $2,000 goal can write a cheque to the Lola Audet Fund in care of École Mer et Montagne and mail it to the school at: 1681 Evergreen Road, V9W 3S3 or drop it off in person.