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. 

xxx+o,

Jess

Jess
Author

JESS |JES| noun Unapologetic ice cream enthusiast, devoted equine fanatic, ungrudging émigré, sartorial voyager, writer of all genres, photographic archivist of the everyday. Prone to spontaneous profanity and inappropriately timed bouts of laughter.

3 Comments

  1. Jess…I am really impressed. It’s months later so I have to ask, how did it go? Did it go? Did you meet your fundraising goal yet?

    I have friends who lost their son, Sammy, to cancer. You can read about it at http://supermansamuel.blogspot.com for the whole tear wrenching journey through hope, hope, more hope and devastation.

    That’s why I tip my little knitted cap to you. I am not brave enough to do this even though I have know two children now who were taken by that bastard, Cancer. Sure, I could wear a wig but I am just not there, so I donate when I can (unfortunatly I can’t right now) and support when I can’t donate.

    I hope it went well, that your fundraising was a success and you check Sammy’s blog. I believe his mom and dad had a mass shaving where all their rabbi friends and eventually their two sons and daughter all shaved their heads to raise money…it’s on youtube I think.

    I celebrate you Jess 🙂

  2. Jess
    Jess

    Thanks, Lizzie!! I ended up raising just under $3300USD. I just can’t imagine what parents of kids with cancer go through, or what the kids endure. What heartache. A shaved head, really, was nothing. I was honored to raise the money.

    I visited Sammy’s blog. What a beautiful boy, and strong parents. I guess we endure what we must, but still. We must believe that cancer can someday be a thing of the past. xxx+o

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