Mayor John Tory To Shave Head of Gary Slaight For Fundraising Campaign

By Karen Bliss 1/23/15 |

(L to R) Mayor John Tory and friend Gary Slaight. Soon, one of them will have no hair — photo courtesy of Slaight Communications.
Gary Slaight and his family have helped so many causes and charities over the years that when the Toronto philanthropist and music industry benefactor offered to shave his head and match donations made to his #NoHairSelfie fundraising campaign for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, money came flooding in.

The president and CEO of Slaight Communications raised $100,000 in a matter of days, upped it to $150,000, then $200,000 and now a quarter of a million dollars. On Feb. 4, World Cancer Day, his good friend Toronto Mayor John Tory will do the honours and shave his head, which is part of the deal of reaching his goal.

“Cancer affects everyone and this event will raise funds and awareness about this terrible disease,” Slaight tells Samaritanmag. “The campaign is very creative. The folks at Princess Margaret Hospital did a great job with the whole online/mobile platform, plus it’s kinda fun.

“I am just hoping my scalp is not too big or ugly. Mind you, there are hats and berets out there.”

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (PMCF) raises and stewards funds to deliver breakthrough research, exemplary teaching, and compassionate care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world, it states in the FAQ of the web site.

"The #NoHairSelfie campaign is a new digital fundraising campaign to show solidarity for the thousands of people who undergo cancer treatment each year. #NoHairSelfie encourages people to actually or virtually shave their heads on February 4, 2015 in support of World Cancer Day.”

The virtual shave is through the #NoHairSelfie App, which can be downloaded on iTunes or Google Play.

A promo video for the campaign includes appearances by Dragon’s Den panelist/Weathy Barber author David Chilton, The Watchmen singer Danny Greaves, Barberian Steak House owner Arron Barberian and Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation president Paul Alofs, one-time president of BMG Music Canada and HMV Music Stores Canada.  

Slaight also made his own video about the initiative, encouraging the public to join in or donate to his efforts.

The Slaights sold broadcasting asset Standard Broadcasting in 2007 for a considerable sum and formed Slaight Communications. Gary is the main financial backer of Samaritanmag and supports dozens of musicians and music-related projects through Slaight Music. The Slaight Family Foundation supports many arts and healthcare initiatives, including a $50 million donation in 2013 to five area hospitals.

Single contributions to Gary’s #NoHairSelfie campaign have been high — $10,000, $5,000, $1000 are common amounts — and everyone from Rush’s manager Ray Danniels and Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew to ex NHLer Doug Gilmour, businessman Leonard Asper and Canada’s Walk of Fame co-founder Peter Soumalias have helped their friend and business associate reach his goal.

“I think it’s the combination of an important cause and the thought of me shaving my head,” says Slaight about the rapid success of his campaign.

Why not just donate the money? “This is also about raising awareness,” he says.

On his page, which he has continually updated each time his goal is met, Slaight’s latest message reads: “I’d truly like to thank my friends, family, colleagues and business associates who have so generously supported my fundraising effort in the #nohairselfie campaign. I have set and exceeded two goals to date and I’m please to announce a new goal of $250,000. We will match this amount for a total of $500,000 raised to support cancer research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation… So please support the #NoHairSelfie movement in any way you can and help us conquer cancer in our lifetime.”

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* is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.