When I first heard about St. Baldrick’s, I had just started college. The idea of shaving my head to raise funds for childhood cancer research was pure brilliance to me. Kids with cancer would get a double benefit: more cash so the world would eventually be able to say sayonara to cancer in kids, and a virtual show of solidarity from people all over the world. I was still fresh out of adolescence and painfully aware of how agonizing a pretty normal one could be. Envisioning wading through the sea of insecurities, academic demands, and friend and relationship heartaches while trying to kick cancer in the rear, sometimes with a bald head, just seemed insane. But, again, I was barely recovered from my own experiences and still not ready to take it all off. So I donated. I cheered from the sides.
The thing about waking up that first morning as a parent is that something in us switches on overnight, courses through our veins, whether we’re aware of it or not. A potent amalgam of compassion, unconditional love, tenderness, fear, and other elements that change from person to person, from year to year. Before, we could feel all of those things just fine. But parenthood coalesces them in a manner that no other experience quite can. So when I revisited the idea of shaving my head, my first thought was Welp, guess I’ll need a warm hat. There was really nothing else to it. No inner Mean Girl smirking at how ugly I’d be. No immediate plans to go into hiding. Just plans for a warmer hat. And it’s not like I have a little pixie cut here, folks. My hair is the longest and most lush it’s ever been in my entire life. I love it. But I quickly realized that I have a choice to see it go or not. These kids? They don’t. But beyond that, all I had to do was imagine one of my kids going through chemo, close my eyes and see one of their little bodies shrunken and weakened by cancer. Done. I’m in. The thought of it changed the depth of my sympathy from pond-deep to abysmal.
I remember once asking myself how much it would take for me to shave my head. My answer? Someone would have to pay me $1000. I doubled that number for my goal. Help me make this stunt worth it by donating through my St. Baldrick’s fundraising page. With $5, $1000, or anywhere in between, you can personally tell cancer to SUCK IT.