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Shaving Your Head for Charity is Totally Baldacious

By Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger
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More and more people today are deliberately going bald because the growth in cancer patients is increasing the use of head shaving campaigns for fundraising. The premise is simple: a person pledges to raise a specified amount of money and agrees to shave their head if friends, family and others donate to their cause. The reward, many say, is supporting friends and family members losing hair due to cancer treatment in a tangible way.

Totally Baldacious:

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in the US and Canada just announced the “Totally Baldacious!” campaign which encourages people to shave their heads or change their hair color. Other options include a temporary tattoo on bald heads or, for men, shaving or coloring beards or mustaches. President and CEO John Walter has joined in, saying he hopes to raise at least $50,000. "I believe in (our) mission with every bone in my body and every hair on my head," Walter said. "And I'm prepared to sacrifice those hairs to show in no uncertain terms just how much I care about helping people with cancer live longer, healthier lives."

Like many campaigns today, this one incorporates social media. LLS developed an application which participants can use to "virtually" bald their social networking profile and dare others to shave one for the team, or to support their fundraising efforts. You can find the app in the resources list below and use it to see what you would look like bald.

World’s Greatest Shave Draws More Than 100,000:

An even larger undertaking is the “World’s Greatest Shave” in Australia which takes place March 11-13. Started in 1998, World's Greatest Shave raised more than $92 million for the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia. More than 125,000 people from all walks of life shave or color their hair each year to raise funds. Where does the name come from? The Foundation holds the Guinness World Record for most heads shaved over a 24 hour period, set in 1999.

This isn’t the only large head shaving event down under. Bluey Day or Crop a Cop is an initiative of police officers and other emergency services across Australia who shave their heads in support of children living with cancer and other serious illnesses.

Adults Shave Heads and Become Heroes for Kids:

Since their first head-shaving event on St. Patrick’s Day in 2000, California-based St. Baldrick’s Foundation has contributed more than $50.5 million dollars to pediatric cancer research through events around the globe. The nonprofit has a major push underway this year since 2010 marks their ten year anniversary and hopes to enlist more than 40,000 shavees this year. “It’s hard to believe that St. Baldrick’s, which started out as a small fundraiser among friends, has grown into the world’s largest volunteer driven fundraising event for childhood cancer,” says Kathleen Ruddy, executive director.

St. Baldrick’s has proudly shaved more than 108,000 heads at more than 2,500 events around the world. The foundation supports programs related to childhood cancer, including research grants, improved patient treatments, research projects and pediatric cancer trials.

Head Shaving Comes In Many Forms:

According to Fundraiser Insight, a publication for professional fundraisers, head shaving fundraisers have many incarnations, and are only limited by one’s imagination.

One of the most inspirational examples of head shaving is Anne Lisa Lynch of
The United Kingdom who raised funds for cancer research in the UK by shaving her head publicly and vibrantly. She continues to raise money online through her blog, which includes the video showing the grand head shaving event when her waist-length locks were chopped off.

Here are some of the reasons she gave for shaving her head:

• Because so many people I've known in my life have been touched by cancer, and it doesn't appear to be less prevalent (though treatments have improved)

• Because there's still a way to go for treatments to be 100 percent effective (and it's people who have put so much effort into fundraising and research that have got it as far as it is today!)

• Because when it does touch peoples lives, there is still a feeling of despair when first diagnosed. It would be wonderful if, when people first hear the words, "you have cancer" that the immediate reaction is annoyance that it is going to inconvenience them for a while. (Even better would be that no consultant or doctor would ever have to say those words!)

• Because my childhood friend now has it, and though I'm there for her as much as I can be, I still feel so helpless as she struggles through the harsh treatments, trying to decide whether it's worth continuing when it makes her feel so bad.

• While I can't physically do something for my friend (I can't make her better, nor take her pain away), I can at least try to do something towards the ongoing quest for improvement in treatment for ourselves and for our children.

• Shaving my head to raise funds, whilst not original, is something in my power to do... and it means something to me (both in the physical hair loss, and the idea why the loss of hair is significant -see). If I didn't care about it, then it would be no big deal.

• It was because cancer touches on so many peoples' lives, that so many people encouraged me to go for it!

What do you think? Would you be willing to shave your head to raise funds for cancer? Have you ever done this? If so, what was the experience like? If you have cancer, would you like others to shave their heads on your behalf? Do you think it’s appropriate to encourage people to do this when hair loss can be devastating for cancer patients, especially women?


Totally Baldacious info: www.totallybaldacious.org

Make Yourself Baldacious App:

World’s Greatest Shave Info: http://www.worldsgreatestshave.com/

World's Great Shave TV ads: http://www.worldsgreatestshave.com/news/video.php

St. Baldrick’s Info: www.StBaldricks.org.

St. Baldrick’s Events : http://blog.nola.com/highlights-with-derick-hingle/2009/03/stbaldricks_one_hairraising_ex.html


Anne Lisa Lynch on shaving her head: http://baringitall.blogspot.com/

About the author: Pat Elliott is a journalist and blogger who has written about health issues for more than 20 years. She is also a cancer survivor who coaches people on how to manage their transition and take control of their new future.

Add a Comment18 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

true and sad story soph.im sorry.

March 21, 2011 - 1:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

oh sophie thats soo sad.im really truly sorry i really know how you feel when i read this i was gobsmacked.im even hurt.by these words and pictures that enter my mind its just soo shooking. im soooo sorry luv.so sad bit is "DADDY where's mum i want her to read me a bed time story" mum is in heaven and she is looking down at us.so sorry i know how it feels without a mum.i hope you lead your life happy and always have your mum in your heart.you must be a wonderful duaghter love.(im 39 buy the way).

March 21, 2011 - 1:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

(as im writting this im in FULL tears and heartbroken)when my mum find out that she got lumps in both of her breast mum and my dad rushed to the hospital and they said that my lovely mum is 48 hrs away from death.now i didnt know this because i was 3 and half years old ...
we had a party the very next day and my amazing mum got her hair shaved so did my dad and at night my mum passsed away.she left and wrote something really speacial to me saying "never go for the bad boys"and she's like this to my big sister "dont buy yourself something cheap"
what was the most sad things i can remember was saying this to dad "DADDY wheres mum i want her to read me a bed time story"dad waas like mum is in heaven and she is looking down at us.I didnt know first but when i got older say 10 years and got the picture my heart just broke and i dont know how im going to heal it back.my friends always say "Some of us think holding on
makes us strong do it sophie so i do"but my mum is always in my heart...

March 21, 2011 - 1:40pm
EmpowHER Guest

oh my goooooooood.

March 21, 2011 - 1:19pm
EmpowHER Guest

MY older sister died of breast cancer like 6 and a half years ago so did my grandma about 15years ago.im really scared as im now 25 i get lumps in my right breast,im not married yet but i dont know how im going to feed my kids (if i dont die)....basically my family have a issue past about cancer...i really dont want to worry my fiancee or my family i keep looking at it everytime and it seems getting worser every two weeks but im really desperate.
hey thanks for the comments though really did help:)

March 21, 2011 - 1:15pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi everyone - I heard from a fellow leukemia survivor in Australia and wanted to pass along her comments. Makes me wish I could be there with her! Pat
Just to let you know my older brother and his work mates are fundraising for the Worlds Greatest Shave. Should be fantastic - next week - his workmates etc have hair dressers at the ready - quite a number are not shaving but colouring their hair in all different colours and patterns. My brother is having his hair coloured in a checker pattern - heaven to bid. There are about 4 guys going bald. I have been invited to give a small speech before the event - and then participate in shaving one of the guys heads so he will look baldacious as well. Their fund raising has hit the $10,000.00 (Australian) marker for the Leukaemia Foundation – a fabulous effort.

Sue (Aussie)

March 1, 2010 - 6:23pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi everyone - Here's an update on the Totally Baldacious campaign. John Walter, President and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) shaved off his hair on 02/22/10. As of 02/26/10 he's raised more than $30,000 to help fund cancer research and patient services - and says he's not done yet!

You can see photos here: http://tinyurl.com/yk3ktv5

You can see the blond locks fall from his head in this video:

LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

As a leukemia survivor I have benefited from the services of LLS many times. As a woman who is currently dealing with hair loss from treatment I'm moved beyond words by all of those who take such a personal action as shaving their head to help support us. Thank you so much!! Pat

February 26, 2010 - 5:31pm

I love this!!!!! I had never had a close family member suffer from cancer until last year and any causes in the name of a cure are fantastic! Thank you for fueling the fire behind a cure :)

February 26, 2010 - 4:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks Pat. When I was 7 I had spinal surgery. My roommate at the hospital was a 5 year old boy named Chris. He had leukemia.That was over 40 years ago and I've never forgotten him. My mother is also a breast cancer/lung cancer survivor. When I learned of the work the St.Baldrick's Foundation does to raise funds for childhood cancer research I knew it was something I wanted to participate in.

February 26, 2010 - 2:45am

April 15, 2010 I'll be having my head shaved to raise funds for the St.Baldrick's Foundation: http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/participantid/363860

This will be the fourth year I've taken part. My first year I donated my hair to Locks Of Love before my head was shaved. I also plan on selling some of my artwork on Etsy.com to benefit St.Baldrick's. I would encourage more people to get involved and have their head shaved. Its a good feeling to know your helping to make a difference.

February 24, 2010 - 9:14am
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