It was time: Why I shaved my head to support people battling cancer

I don’t have it, but I don’t like it.

We all know the word.  Cancer.  Most of us know someone – if not many people in our lives who are suffering from the horrible disease or are cancer survivors.

This C word has struck our family something fierce this year.  Unfortunately I can’t even count on one hand how many people in my life that have been diagnosed this year alone with either breast, liver or ovarian. Thankfully for now they are all fighting the battle and staying strong so far.

Which is one reason why my family volunteers and comes together every year to run an annual St. Baldrick’s event. It’s my proud moment of the weekend.

I have been organizing this event for five years – recruiting volunteers, shavees, donations, and more – and one in which my kids and husband have been shaving their heads at every year.

This is a charity that my kids found and chose to support on their own. This has become their “why” after having a classmate diagnosed with leukemia. They have raised $12,493 over the past 5 years for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and I couldn’t be more proud. It has become a family affair and “our thing”.  It’s awesome.

This year I became much more involved and shaved my head too.  Because this year it was personal.

suzanne-baldAfter seeing 100’s of men and woman shave their heads over the years I always asked myself if they can do it, why can’t I?

Then last year, an 11 year old girl shaved her very long hair off to support the cause. I couldn’t believe it. I cried (more than I do most years). If SHE had the guts to do it, why couldn’t I?

Yes, here I was coordinating these events – raising thousands of dollars each and every year – but I always felt like I could do MORE.

Then after the tragic “cancer year” we had – including the mother of the very same 11 year old girl who shaved her head last year was diagnosed with cancer; and my mother-in-law who lost all her hair after one chemotherapy treatment – I now knew that I NEEDED to do more.

I knew deep down I could have gone that extra “step” and gone bald before but I was “afraid”.

But the kids with cancer are afraid, but they don’t have the choice when they lose their hair and neither did my mother in law, or the mother of that 11 year old girl who lost her hair just recently after completing 80% of her chemo treatments.

So that was it.  I decided I was going to stand in solidarity and shave my head to tell children (and adults) with cancer that they don’t need their hair or society’s approval in order to be considered “beautiful”. Being who they are is enough. This message is not shared as much as it should be. If I can be an inspiration to anyone battling cancer, I hope I will make a difference in their life and many others.

And I am happy to say that both of my kids best friends – a 14 year old boy and a 10 year old girl – stepped up and shaved their heads in the spur of the moment on Sunday! I was so touched and proud of both of them!  Together we will all help show society that BALD IS BEAUTIFUL and even if you have no hair, stand tall, be proud and make it a beautiful day!

And I’m happy to report this was my best fundraising year yet, with a total net amount of $20,246 at the date of publishing! We as a family alone raised $5,395!

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