The playgrounds and classrooms of many Hawke's Bay schools were a sea of colour yesterday - a sea of colourful heads.

For the small "fine" of a gold coin thousands of youngsters took part in the inaugural Wig Wednesday event which was sparked by the Child Cancer Foundation as a national fundraiser.

It wasn't just the children who got involved. Teachers and some parents and family members also fronted up inside the gates wearing a wig, or in some cases a colourful hat.

"Not a lot of natural fibre around the school today," Taradale Primary School principal Marty Hantz said with a smile as he adjusted his own spectacular rainbow effort which appeared to be a sort of punk/mohawk creation.


And as the children all began to line up across the main outdoor assembly area just before 9am, for a class-by-class walk and wave, two of the local constabulary, Constables Kevin Marshall and Chris Andrews, called by and they too were wearing wigs.

Mr Andrews said that yes, they would take them off when they went back out on patrol later.

Taradale Primary School was one of 42 schools and businesses across the Bay taking part in Wig Wednesday.

"It is just great to see this happening," Child Cancer Foundation Hawke's Bay business development manager Vicky Rope said as she took in the sight of so many colourful heads.

"This is what 400 wigs looks like - it's fantastic."

She said across the country about 400 schools and businesses were taking part to raise funds for the foundation - funds which would be used to reduce the impact of cancer by offering individually tailored practical services for young sufferers and their families.

"This is the first year we have done it so we are testing the waters in a way but it is looking really good," Ms Rope said, adding that just how financially successful it had all been would not be known for a few days.

Cancer survivor Toby Condin was in a chirpy, and colourful, mood at Taradale Primary School yesterday.
Cancer survivor Toby Condin was in a chirpy, and colourful, mood at Taradale Primary School yesterday.

Among the youngsters lining up yesterday at Taradale Primary was 7-year-old Toby Condin, who is a cancer survivor.

His mum Jody said that when he was only 2 he started to limp and said he had a sore leg.

"So we took him to the doctor and they suggested an x-ray but it did not show anything."
So the next step was having blood tests and that was when the acute lymphoid leukaemia (ALL) was detected and the long journey for the whole family began.

"I was just shocked ... it's just not something you ever expect to be told," Mrs Condin said.

The trips to Starship hospital in Auckland began and for the initial period of the three-and-a-half years of treatment the visits were weekly, and then monthly, then three-monthly as Toby went through extensive chemotherapy, orally and intravenously.

He won the battle, although he still has four-monthly blood tests.

"They still keep an eye on him."

She said the support from the Child Cancer Foundation was invaluable.

"There was so much wonderful support and we could not have got through this without them."

Toby was now actively playing rugby and his schoolmates were very aware of what he went through.

"He took his cancer beads to school and he's shown them his scars - he thinks that's pretty awesome," she laughed.