Champion student honours cancer survivor mom

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Wendi Smith holds up the newly snipped ponytail while Champion School student Brody Delude experiences his first haircut in more than a year.

CHAMPION – Few of those who gathered in the school gym to watch Brody Delude get his first haircut in more than a year and a half were surprised at his selfless gesture.

That doesn’t mean, however, the Grade 8 student from Champion School wasn’t caught off guard by the generosity shown by the community for his cancer research fundraising campaign.

“I knew all my family members would support me a lot, but I didn’t know everyone else would,” said Brody, who not only raised more than $5,800 for the cause, but also donated a lengthy braid of hair to be made into wigs for women with cancer. “It was pretty overwhelming.”

His choice of charities was not surprising.

Last October, Brody’s mom, Brenda, celebrated her 10th year free of cancer and he wanted to mark the occasion in some manner.

“She’s been tough through her cancer and her treatment,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

A cousin had gone the hair-cutting route previously, so he enlisted the help of her mother, Kathy Perley, who is a librarian and administrative assistant at Champion School.

Brody’s decision to honour his mother’s courage and fighting spirit definitely wasn’t lost on her.

“It warmed my heart. He is a kind soul, that boy of mine,” said Brenda, who wasn’t surprised he wanted to direct funds to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary for children’s cancer research.

Brody underwent surgery there in 2016 to correct a painful condition which restricted the flow of blood in the active teen’s legs. Without their prompt care and attention, he could have lost his legs.

“They treated us like we were at home, and gave us everything we could have wanted,” he said.

Principal Jody Beagle said the fundraiser wasn’t a great departure for Brody, who “thinks so much of others all the time.” She hopes other students at Champion School will learn from the experience and think beyond themselves.

“It’s too easy in a small community just to be focused locally, and especially as children, on ourselves,” she said. “And that is a big part of our leadership at this school, to think of others and give back to the community.”

Although there was talk of cutting Brody’s hair as part of the year-end awards assembly, he asked that it be held earlier that day.

“He didn’t want to take away from the kids who were receiving awards,” said Brenda, who wanted to thank the entire community for the support shown her son.

After snipping off a lengthy ponytail for charity, family friend Wendi Smith gave Brody a trim that exposed his bare neck for the first time in a long time.

“It feels different, really weird,” said Brody, adding he’s contemplating letting his hair grow longer again.

While mom told him he could grow it “a little bit, but not to this extent,” she might be convinced otherwise.

“I do really like long hair, and I think I look better with long hair,” said Brody, running his hand through his newly shorn crop. “And this is such a good cause, so I feel like maybe I would do it again.”

To make a donation go to Brody’s fundraising page at

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