Humble Hair Salon Pair Raises more than $30,700

VANCOUVER, BC – OCTOBER 14, 2010 – The GI Society was thrilled to learn that Iveta Markova and Anna Mihalik, of Marine Hairstyling for Men in Vancouver, were planning to take on more than great hairstyling this past summer. When they heard that the GI Society needed support for its Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis projects, the women claimed it as their personal mission, raising funds from their cozy, popular downtown shop. It is difficult now to know what is more inspiring: the remarkable amount of money the women raised simply by asking individual clients to make donations, or their unflinching humility at the end of it all.

When hair client Mark Taylor, of MTCS Consulting, asked his friend, Ullrich Schade, President of NextPhase Strategy Marketing, to contribute a complimentary design for a high-calibre invitation for the celebration party, to send to 180 generous clients, Ullrich did not hesitate to say yes. “I’m a big believer in giving back,” he said. To enhance the invitation, he wanted a photograph of the two philanthropic women at the heart of the event, but they didn’t want it to be about them – they give full credit to their clients’ generosity.

Robin LaRose, a mainstream radio host from C101 Classic Rock in Vancouver, described the fundraiser as, “An incredible achievement by two incredible women who have inspired so many in such a short period of time.”

Although reluctant to accept any publicity for their good deeds, the women were not shy about asking their clients to dig deep for an important cause. From late July through September, the charismatic duo raised $30,705! Their big-hearted clients, unable to resist such an important cause – and possibly Iveta and Anna’s earnest, persuasive appeal – made individual donations. Lots of them!

Canada has the highest reported incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) in the world, with upwards of 170,000 Canadians suffering with these conditions, and yet the gastrointestinal field is critically underfunded.

“As someone with a family history of colorectal complications and who has had colorectal surgery twice in the last five years, it’s great to see the work [the GI Society] is doing within the community,” said Gordon P. Brown, Vice President of Operations, Intria Western Region. “I commend both Iveta and Anna. It just goes to show how a small community of people can make a big difference.”

A few days after presenting the generous cheque to the GI Society, Iveta and Anna hosted the lively celebration event to thank donors and celebrate the huge success of this year’s fundraiser. “In the end,” Ullrich said, “I convinced them to let me drop by their hair salon to take a few photos. Five minutes after I arrived, they kicked me out, saying, ‘Okay, that’s it. We have to get back to work.’” The picture added focus to the welcoming invitations, and the event turnout was wonderful.

“They’re more interested in doing good for the community than getting the publicity for doing it,” Ullrich remarked. “Now wouldn’t it be nice if all business people thought the same way?”


Did you know?

Last year, we mailed more than 500,000 pamphlets across the country from our small office in Vancouver, each of them reaching the eager hands of a person who has most likely just learned that they have a life-changing gastrointestinal disease or disorder. One of those people was Sam, who contacted our office feeling confused about symptoms of pancreatitis after seeing her doctor. “Thanks so much for taking the time to provide such a kind, prompt, and thorough response,” Sam wrote to us after receiving the information package we sent. “I’m very grateful that the GI Society is in operation and is helping this hidden sector of society.” In turn, we want to thank our donors for all of your past financial gifts. They make a huge difference! Our work is ongoing, so we still need your help to carry on helping Canadians with GI diseases and disorders.

We know that adjusting to a new diagnosis is hard enough without having to wade through the confusing mix of information pervading the media, or to figure out complicated medical jargon. That’s why we work so hard to provide accurate information that you can trust – and for free. In the New Year, we’re offering a series of Interactive BadGut® Lectures throughout the Country.

We are constantly updating all of our material with the most current evidence-based GI information, and in language that is easy to understand. This service, just one of the GI Society’s awareness, education, and research initiatives, is only possible through the compassionate giving of people like Iveta and Anna – and you!


What you can do

Please consider donating $20, $50, $100, or any amount of your choosing. Financial donations like yours allow us to help Sam — and thousands of other Canadians just like her. You can make a donation here or by contacting our office, toll free, at 1-866-600-4875.

Together, we are offering help and hope to those who rely on our dependable resources. Thank you so much for your support!