Monday, March 16, 2015

Getting Shaved

Just over a week ago, I had my head shaved. I had done it many times before, but this time, things felt very different. I shaved my head for the St. Baldricks Foundation, to raise money for childhood cancer research. I heard about the organization and the event just a couple of weeks before it would all take place. I knew I didn’t have much time and I also knew that I had to be involved. I signed up to get my head shaved and actually had no idea if I would raise any money at all, so I set my fundraising goal at $1000. It didn’t seem like a lot, but suddenly, there was this number looming and the clock was ticking. I had never done something like that before, and while I know that every cent helps, I wanted to reach my goal. And finally, I not only reached it, but I went a little bit over. 

The event itself was not what I expected. I imagined I would arrive at McMullen’s Pub, have a drink with friends, get my head shaved and be done with it. I hadn’t anticipated the emotions that filled the place. It was crowded to overflowing. So many people there to have their heads shaved including children and women who were donating their longer hair to be used for wigs. There were tears and laughter and hugs and smiles. It was such a mix of emotion. I have friends and family that have dealt with cancer. Some have beat it, others have not, including my dad who passed away almost 13 years ago. And then, while I have never had cancer, going through two strokes taught me the importance of giving and accepting help from others, no matter the size. I would never had made it through had it not been for the kindness and support of others. Sometimes it was just a kind word, sometimes it was more involved, and it was all necessary. 

So I sat in my chair with the buzz of the clippers in my ear and the cold metal on scalp. I was sad and happy and excited and filled with so much emotion. It wasn’t about shaving my head, it wasn’t about any of us shaving our heads, it was about children whose names I will never know, families who will go through things I can’t even begin to wrap my head around and honestly hope I never have to. It was about the parents there that had lost children, about the people that had lost brothers and sisters. It was also about celebrating life, having a beer with friends and realizing that being there, just being able to be there, alive and healthy, was an incredible gift.

I left feeling elated and introspective and since then, I spend quite a bit of time thinking about the event and what it really meant. It has caused me to look at things a little differently and has started me on the path of change, something I have felt coming and now I have had just the tiniest push and the momentum has begun. More on that in time.

I have decided I want to do this every year and I want to do more than that to help. I am gong to reach out to see what I can do to help raise money and raise awareness. I never imagined that such a simple act as getting my hair shaved off would have such an impact. It has shown me that we really don’t need to do big, huge things to make a difference. A difference can be made with a flick of the clippers.

Thanks to everyone who donated and helped me reach not only reach, but pass my goal. It was an amazing feeling! If you are interested in joining me next year, or getting involved, let me know. 

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