Cuts for Cancer
Ever since I shaved my head in December of 2007, I’ve wanted to grow a healthy head of hair to donate to make wigs for children who have lost their hair from chemotherapy. You might want to read that line again. Or maybe you knew me, and you know that story. For those of you who don’t, it’s a pretty simple one.
Every year at KFL&A Public Health, the employees donate a portion of their paycheques to the United Way. 6 or 7 years ago, the director or corporate services challenged the staff. He promised that if they ever raised over 10 thousand dollars, he would shave his head. At the time, they were raising about $3000, and it probably seemed like an impossible feat and safe challenge. Fast forward to 2007, and the staff at KFL&A Public Health had raised over 11 thousand dollars internally. It was pure awesomeness for roughly 200 people to open up their wallets and donate so generously to a great organization.
The time for Tony to succumb to the clippers was near. As a crowd gathered in the auditorium to watch and heckle, a colleague named Gord stepped up and challenged the crowd, “If you raise $200 right now, I’ll shave my head today too”. The crowd started digging in their pockets, and about 5 minutes later, and halfway through Tony’s haircut, I piped up after giving it little thought and shouted, “If you raise $500, I’ll shave my head.” Within an hour the money was raised, and after Gord had his head shaved, so did I.
It was one of those things that I had always wanted to do, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I had just left a long-term relationship with an abusive partner, and I was aching to get rid of the old me and embrace a new one. It’s funny how much shaving my head did that for me. It totally stripped me of my old outside self, and gave way for a new inner self to shine through. At the same time, it stripped away the overly processed hair and gave me a chance to start from scratch too.
While it was a great fundraiser, and a great life experience, I felt somewhat disappointed that my head hadn’t been long enough to donate to Locks of Love, or a similar charity. I’ve never been overly attached to my appearance, and don’t depend on my hair for my sense of identity. I remember thinking if all I had to do was take care of it, (which also meant spending no money on the multicolour that I was trying to maintain) while it grew out, then that was my next challenge.
2008, 2009, and 2010 passed and I was itching to get rid of the length. I hadn’t had my hair that long since elementary school and it was a bit annoying. I took one final look at it a couple of days ago and thought it was time to shed some weight. I made an appointment at the London School, in downtown Vancouver, to make the experience all the more rewarding, so that someone could learn on a head that wasn’t so picky in the final design.
I must admit, it is a bit creepy seeing a chunk of hair so neatly sitting in a ponytail on the table. But the experiences of all involved, or those that will be involved out-weigh any of that. For anyone else reading this post who is interested in doing the same, they can send their own hair in a 8″ ponytail or longer to help make a wig for a child who’s lost their hair during chemotherapy to treat cancer. Take part in the group cut in front of an audience, Cuts for Cancer, at UBC in the spring, or check out the list on their website for organizations that make the wigs and instructions if you’d prefer to go to your favourite stylist instead.