Over $10,500 has been raised for sarcoma research through an initiative by Airdronian, Fred Burley.

The fundraising blitz culminated in Burley having his head and facial hair shaved off this past weekend to honour his daughter, who was diagnosed with an exceedingly rare form of cancer; CIC-rearranged sarcoma.

On Saturday, supporters came to the final event at the 1861 Local Bar & Grill, which saw the top donors to the fundraising initiative don electric razors and shave off Burley's hair and beard. Burley said there were nerves going into the event, but took it all in stride.

"I was afraid I was going to look like Dan Akroyd from Conehads," he laughed. 

But as his hair fell away, Burley said there was relief as well as smiles. Now, he is getting used to not having hair, joking that he often catches himself wanting to brush his hair back, but alas he has none. Burley, a former City of Airdrie councillor, who now serves as a Rocky View Schools school trustee, said that the initiative was always about raising funds for sarcoma research.

"Every dollar we raised is one dollar we didn't have [before], for the cure," he said. "She [Burley's daughter Katie] always wanted it to be all about sarcoma research, not about her having cancer; and that's what this fundraiser was about."

In late January, Burley's 28-year-old daughter, Katie, discovered that she has an exceedingly rare form of sarcoma, which is a cancer that begins in the bones and soft tissues. It is estimated that only 200 people across the globe have been diagnosed with CIC-rearranged sarcoma.

Previously, Burley spoke of the emotional toll of watching his daughter battle the diagnosis, saying that throughout the various treatments, his daughter has stayed true to who she is.

"[Katie] She speaks her mind and she's always known what she wanted to be in life and I'm proud of that," Burley previously said. "We're just incredibly proud of our daughter and our son, we have a son Jacob as well and we're proud of our kids. They're very special human beings and they're good people and that's what we always want just to raise good people."

In true dry humour, Katie named the tumour Helen, though Burley underlined it isn't meant to be an insult to anyone named Helen. Instead, it comes from the idea that the sarcoma has meant she has gone through hell and back. The name of the May 25 event has also been appropriately dubbed: Team Hell 'n' Back - Burley Family Take on their biggest fight.

When asked what Burley thought of the turn-out over the weekend, he said nothing about Airdrie surprises him.

"This community - we've lived here now 30 years and this community has been great for our family. It makes life that much better living in a community like Airdrie. When someone needs something - [Airdronians] are there for them."

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