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On September 14th, I will be getting my head shaved as part of my fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s, a charity that supports research on childhood cancer.
I will also be donating the hair that is shaved to Pantene Beautiful Lengths as part of their program with the American Cancer Society to provide women with wigs after cancer treatments take their hair. I have gotten a lot of comments on my “bravery” but I don’t think that this is brave thing at all that I’m doing, especially since I am just the teeniest bit terrified.
Though I am more than proud to be doing this, self-doubt keeps whispering in the background, like an annoying mean girl at the cafeteria table. “Um, hello?? You get compliments on your hair; nobody will think you’re attractive without it! Do you realize how long it will take to grow back?? What if you have a weird-shaped head and don’t know it? What if your toddler son doesn’t recognize you??”
These things are hard to think about sometimes, I’m not going to lie. And it’s these thoughts that keep people from donating to Pantene or pledging to St Baldrick’s. And I’m here to say, that is perfectly okay. I am not better or braver because I’m shaving my head. The better and braver people are those who actually lose their hair to cancer, and it’s for them that I do this. They don’t have choice in the matter and don’t get to argue with their ego.
But maybe, just maybe, if all of us shavees (and donors, and people who even just spread the word by sharing a link) help raise money for cancer research, maybe one day these people will not have to worry about losing their hair. Maybe we’ll be able to fund research to keep kids healthy longer and have less invasive or damaging treatments. Maybe they won’t have to worry about losing their hair, or being sick, at all.
In addition to raising money, St. Baldrick’s also raises awareness by having its volunteers being walking advertisements for the cause. Shavees have “Ask Me Why I’m Bald” buttons that they can wear, to invite questions about the charity and the fight for childhood cancer. The fundraising doesn’t stop with my shave; it continues as I grow my hair out, as I wear my St. Baldrick’s t-shirt and button around town, as I tell the story of what I did in September.
My commitment continues beyond September 14th, as it does with most shavees. I have a friend who did it more than three years ago and still counts it among one of the best things he’s ever done. Being part of the St. Baldrick’s family of crazy head shavees will make this much easier, because even though you may no longer be a shavee, you are automatically a cheerleader for those who are in the future.
But, ugh, that self-doubt. She sits there in the back, snapping her gum and giving me some serious side-eye. Well, we all know that the best way to combat mean girls is with solidarity and confidence. In the end, I may not have hair but I have my bold red lipstick (Julie Hewett Coco Noir, natch) and big dangly earrings at the ready. I have head wraps when it’s chilly and for when I’m just feeling sassy. And I have my real-life friends to support me, as well as all of the incredible people on the internet who are virtually behind me with cheers and pom-poms. The mean girl in my head does not stand a chance.
And for those days of when I’m feeling a little less powerful, I have created a Pinterest board called St. Baldrick’s – Post Shave Inspiration I am in process of collecting inspirational images of bald women, famous and ordinary, as well as fun head wraps and accessories that will make my bald head sexy.
I’m also hosting an Etsy giveaway in honor of my shave, so please feel free to check it out and enter to win a $25 Etsy gift card!
Finally, if you took the time to read this, please take the time to share this article and my St. Baldrick’s Shave Event Page. My goal is to reach $1,500, but my real goal is to spread the word about St. Baldrick’s and Pantene Beautiful Lengths. And maybe, to inspire a few other shavees that I can cheer on.
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