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Salem student ‘picks fight’ with cancer, raises $2,000

by Mike Robinson

SALEM - Young MJ McDonald is proving that picking a fight can be a good thing - when the opponent is cancer.

The Salem Public School student is a winner in her first fight: a recent campaign to raise $2,000. On her fundraising page posted with the Canadian Cancer Society MJ states, “I am six years old, and I’m picking a fight with cancer!”

Cancer has “shown its face” around MJ’s family a number of times; her grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother and some of her great aunts have all suffered and survived cancer. MJ pledged that if she reached her goal of $2,000 she would donate eight to 10 inches of her hair for the fight.

“I am proud to be raising funds to support the fight against cancer,” MJ wrote.

MJ’s mom Arlene McDonald, a Kitchener-Waterloo Rotarian, said she and her husband Ted, “try to help our children understand the importance of giving back to our community.”

She explained, “MJ picked the target herself (not really understanding the significance ... ) We tried to get her down to $500, or even $1,000, but she was determined.”

Arlene asked MJ if she would stop fundraising if she reached her goal, but MJ’s response was, “I’ll blow it out of the water.”

Arlene added Salem Public school has been very supportive, in particular her teacher Mr. Farnworth, who said he hopes MJ “realizes through this that she has a voice and that she can make a difference.”

On April 13, MJ reported she had reached her goal of $2,000. She will be cutting and donating her hair on April 29 in front of a school assembly. The cancer society is expected to send a representative.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored me,” MJ said. “I have [some time until] April 29 so I am going to keep going and see how high I can get!”

Arlene said the family is “so proud of MJ,” number four on the cancer society website for funds raised by an individual.

For more on MJ’s campaign visit

April 17, 2015


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