A local man’s hair-cutting fundraiser in support of the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre (KSACC) and the Kamloops branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is growing in its sophomore iteration.
Nathaniel Martin started Cutober in October 2020 with his daughter as a way to raise funds for and awareness of mental-health stigmas and domestic violence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inaugural fundraiser was done via a GoFundMe campaign, which saw his then-six-year-old daughter Abrielle cut his hair in a bid to raise money for the cause. Sporting his daughter's uniquely fashioned haircut, Martin vowed to keep the hairdo one minute more for every dollar raised during the month of October for up to 60 days (86,400 minutes) as of Nov. 1, 2020.
This year’s effort, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 2, will see Martin and his now seven-year-old daughter kick off another campaign at Aberdeen Mall’s centre court between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
This time, Martin won’t be getting the haircut alone as four others, including United Steelworkers local 7619 president Kyle Wolfe, are joining the Cutober team by getting haircuts from their own children at the mall.
Martin said another half-dozen people may also commit to the cut. Families are also encouraged to participate virtually.
“I’m not alone as many other fathers, grandpas, uncles, big brothers and maybe a few brave moms will take part,” Martin said.
This year, the United Steelworkers union has given Martin $500 “to vamp Cutober up a bit” and he’s put those funds towards designing a logo for the fundraiser, which will be on numerous stickers and a banner as well as a bunch of toques, Martin told KTW via email.
Cutober has its own Facebook page and web page where donations can be made, rather than through last year’s GoFundMe webpage.
Last year, the fundraiser brought in about $7,400 total to allow the CMHA to complete upgrades in their Kamloops clubhouse and for the KSACC to reach out and connect more victims to counsellors.
Martin, who works at Teck’s Highland Valley Copper (HVC) mine near Logan Lake, raised $3,300 from the mine site and $1,100 publicly via a GoFundMe account for the KSACC and the CMHA. Teck corporate added another $3,000 through its community-sharing program.
“We're hoping, with more dads, maybe we'll break the $10,000 [mark this year], but more importantly, to start more conversations about mental-health and domestic violence,” Martin said.
He said staff at HVC have committed to making donations, and, while at the mall this Saturday, Martin will raffle off numerous gift baskets for donations.
Martin noted Kamloopsians have faced numerous stresses in 2021 on top of the pandemic and lockdowns which spurred the inaugural fundraiser — discovery of 200 probable graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, an intense fire season, vaccine protests and a federal election.
“Lots of stresses that can lead from mental-health crisis to domestic violence, thus we continue on with another year of Cutober to help those who cannot raise a voice for themselves due to their situations which can be precarious,” Martin said.
Last year’s fundraiser came about after Martin learned of the challenges the KSACC and the CMHA were facing coming out of lockdowns.
“KSACC at some point had an eight-month wait list to connect victims to counsellors. CMHA had a large portion of parents whom had adult children living at home going through crisis without any connections to services or aides,” Martin said.
To learn more about the fundraiser and get involved, check out its web page.