Toku’s lesson in bravery

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Toku Tanaka reflects on what he achieved as the last of his locks come off.
Camera IconToku Tanaka reflects on what he achieved as the last of his locks come off. Credit: Callum Hunter / South Western Times

A student from Bunbury Primary School gave the South West a lesson in bravery and commitment on Thursday when he shaved off his hair in the name of cancer.

Year 4 student Toku Tanaka had been growing his hair since he was in kindy after his teacher was diagnosed with cancer and returned from school holidays with no hair.

Toku resolved then and there to make a difference and help in the fight against the disease.

“She was the best teacher with the curliest, longest hair and then she came back with no hair,” he said.

“I wanted to help so I started growing my hair to give to cancer patients and others who have lost their hair because of medical conditions.”

Before it could be donated and turned into a wig, Toku’s hair had to be longer than 35cm, a milestone that officially ticked over last week.

Toku Tanaka sits anxiously as hairdresser Diana Tyley sets to work.
Camera IconToku Tanaka sits anxiously as hairdresser Diana Tyley sets to work. Credit: Callum Hunter / South Western Times

It was because of this commitment that Bunbury Primary School launched its annual Crazy Hair Day, an event which this year coincided with the day Toku shaved his head.

“It speaks highly of Toku and his social conscience, which is something we try and develop in the kids,” principal Shane Doherty said.

“School is a place where we learn how to be good citizens and the support the other kids have given him tells me we’re on the right track with that.”

To take part in Crazy Hair Day students had to make a gold coin donation to Hair With a Heart, a tally which as of lunch time on Thursday stood at $566.

This combined with the more than $2600 raised by Toku’s own Hair With a Heart page means he has raised more than $3100 to date.

His former kindy teacher Dale Elstermann was on hand to watch Toku’s locks come off with the rest of the school and said her former student was an inspiration.

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