If you had told me that when I turned 33, I would willingly shave my head, I probably would have laughed. In our current culture, people shaving their head can usually be met with shock and ridicule (Britney in 2007, anyone?). Fast forward to the beginning of March, and on my 33rd birthday, I did just that. I'm sure you're wondering why.
I was inspired by a friend of mine who raised over $2,000 to support childhood cancer research through St. Baldrick's Foundation last year. She met her fundraising goal and shaved her head, to draw attention to this important issue and also to show solidarity with children who lose their hair due to chemotherapy. I remember being so inspired by her and thinking, "I want to do something, too. I want to help others." Not too long after my friend’s fundraiser, I signed up and vowed to also shave my head on my birthday.
I had almost a year to plan for it. It was a little strange to think about, but it seemed so far away that it wasn't a reality yet. The closer the date came, though, the more excited I became. I'm a mom to two (knock on wood) healthy boys and I kept thinking of all of the parents and family members out there who have to watch their children go through a devastating disease - not to mention the children themselves who are so young and have to go through so much. I was committed to doing anything I could to help support an organization that aims to raise money specifically for childhood cancer research.
When the day finally came, I had surpassed my fundraising goal and I was over the moon! I couldn’t have done it without the generous souls who donated to the fundraiser and who helped spread the word. That afternoon, my husband volunteered to shave my head and my 2 close friends came over to my house to show their support and help document the process by taking photos. I also decided that since I had no more use for my hair, I might as well give it to someone who could use it, so I donated my hair to Locks of Love as well. The shorter my hair became, the more free I felt. Granted, I was a little nervous about my new appearance, but knowing that I was helping someone else brought me such joy and fulfillment.
Aside from internal goodwill, there are other perks to shaving your head. Saving on shampoo and conditioner, for example, and drastically reduced shower times. I’ll catch glimpses of myself in the mirror every so often and think, “Who is that sassy girl with the buzzcut?” and smile.
All kidding aside, I’ve vowed that this year will be my year of action. Instead of complaining about how many people need help, I want to actually get out there and do something about it. If each of us do something to help our fellow man or better our communities, think about what we could accomplish! All you need is your time and your desire to spread some joy (and if you can spare a few dollars for a good cause, that helps, too!).
Hairstyles will change as the years go on, but the feeling you get from helping someone else stays with you forever.
Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. And in the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease—more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined.
To get involved and find out more, visit St. Baldrick’s: http://www.stbaldricks.org/