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Dream Scholar Conducts Fundraiser and Hair-Raiser for Children with Cancer
Sunday, November 8, 2020


Alexia Rocha’s wavy hair is shiny, luxuriant and the color of a raven. To children with cancer her locks are gold.

Rocha, a Wood River High School junior, just cut 11 inches of her hair for Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs to youngsters who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment and burn trauma.

Rocha, one of 40-plus students in the I Have a Dream class, has also raised $800 for children with cancer,  with hopes of raising more.

It’s part of Rocha’s Personal Project, a school project that challenges high school students to learn about a subject they knew nothing about.

Rocha had considered creating a cookbook, making a dresser from scratch, wrapping a car and learning to play a musical instrument. But none of those ideas appealed to her. It was the suggestion of a counselor that she come up with some sort of fundraiser.

“I’m interested in being a nurse and I feel cancer is a big deal, that not enough people help raise money for it,” she said. “I donated 13 inches of my hair to a similar organization in Mexico in 2016. So, I thought I’d like to try again.”

Rocha has not had much luck getting others to donate locks for the cause. A minimum of 10 inches of hair is needed, and many do not have that much to give. Those who do are reluctant to part with what they consider their pride and joy.

“I get it,” Rocha said. “I was nervous about how I would look as they were cutting mine.”

Monetary donations have been easier to come by. Rocha set a goal of $300 to donate to St. Luke’s Children’s Cancer Institute in Boise. She’s raised $800 so far, thank to donations from friends and family members and I Have a Dream mentors like Leslie Silva who rustled up some donations. Encouraged to set her sights higher, she now hopes to raise at least $1,000.

“Any small contribution goes a long way to help someone who is fighting the biggest battle there is,” she said. “It’ll be used for expenses of families whose children have cancer, like transportation or hotel accommodations.”

Pamela Donoso program director of I Have a Dream Foundation-Idaho, says she’s been impressed with Rocha’s efforts—she was the only one of the Dreamers who did a fundraising project.

“Alexia is real outgoing—when I need volunteers, she’s always the first to raiser her hand,” Donoso said. “Every year she completes 15 to 25 community service hours.”

Rocha researched cancer as part of her Personal Project. And what she’s learned about cancer has only cemented her desire to be a nurse.

“I’ve always been interested in the medical field, but the idea of being a surgeon is kind of scary. I want to help people and, now with the pandemic, they have so few nurses and doctors…I wish I could jump in and help out now,” she said.

For now, however, she’ll have to be content to do what she can, raising money for those fighting the battle.

It makes me happy that I can help,” she said. “And I like that others have kindness in their heart to help me help others.”

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