Last week, my sister took it all off. In front of hundreds of people, she bared herself in a way she has never done before. And she did it for money. If you know her, you’re not too surprised at this behavior. She tends to do stuff like this.

 

hanger

 

Stuff like raising over $1500 for childhood cancer research by shaving her head.

Did you think I meant something else? Sigh. Get your mind out of the gutter, people.

My sister, Theresa, shaved her head last Friday as a way to raise money for St. Baldrick’s childhood cancer research. As a fun incentive for people to donate, the organization (named as a combination of “bald” and “St. Patrick’s,” since the first event was held March 17, 2000) encourages people to raise funds for research by pledging to shave their heads.

 

trying to capture the two of us--and her hair--in one last photo
trying to capture the two of us–and her hair–in one last photo

 

Theresa is a teacher, and her high school has been supporting St. Baldrick’s for a few years. At the very moment she was speaking with a teacher about being a “shavee” this year, another colleague walked into the room and shared that his grandson had to have his eye removed in his battle with cancer. It was a powerful coincidence that fueled my sister’s commitment to participate. Not surprisingly, she chose to sponsor this boy in her efforts. (The boy has since gotten his labs back, and, thank God, he is now cancer-free.)

 

since she is donating her hair, it needs to be in ponytails
since she is donating her hair, it needs to be in ponytails

 

My sister and I hate cancer. (Is there anyone who doesn’t?!) It’s not only taken our dad, but affected too many people that we know and love. And—just too many people, period. It is an insidious, horrible disease—but research is making strides. As the St. Baldrick’s website notes, “In the 1950s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer died. Because of research, today about 90% of kids with the most common type of cancer will live. But for many other types, progress has been limited, and for some kids there is still little hope for a cure.”

 

quite the transformation
quite the transformation

 

I am very proud of Theresa for “taking it all off.” (I won’t gush much more, as she already accuses me of posting schmaltz.) She not only raised a chunk of money for research, but she was also able to donate her hair to an organization that will use it to make hairpieces for disadvantaged children suffering with hair loss for various reasons. Shaving her head was a double win.

 

check out the hair she is holding in her hand to be donated!
check out the hair she is holding in her hand to be donated!

 

And, in a way, it was also a kind of triple win, as well—at least for Theresa—because her decision to shave her head had another layer of personal impact.

You see, my sister and I both started going gray in our early 20s, and we are now predominantly (and prematurely, mind you!) gray. As I’ve shared before, deciding when and if to cease the coloring madness is not easy. Both (originally) brunettes, if we stopped coloring our hair, we would have to deal with a defined line of brown-to-white until it all grew out. Who wants to look like variations of a skunk tail for months? Not me.

But when my sister committed to shaving her head for St. Baldrick’s, she also decided that she would let it grow back au natural. I found this to be a brilliant plan. No ugly outgrowth! Just new, healthy hair. That is just smart all over the place.

Who knows? It may be the route I take when I decide to make the transition. I will watch my sister’s journey and perhaps it will inspire me to one day do the same. (After all—I have time if I am to follow in my sister’s footsteps, as she is MUCH older than me. You’re welcome, T.)

 

with "Shelly the Head Shaver"
with “Shelly the Head Shaver”

 

Doesn’t she look great?

So far, she is loving it. As she recently shared on Facebook:

Shaving head for St. Baldrick’s – $1,585!
Savings in hair products per month – $17
Time saved every morning – 25 minutes
Startling myself every time I pass a mirror – PRICELESS!

Her bold commitment has also, in a way, set her free.

Of course, when I wrote the title for this post, I was hoping that the salacious nature of it would make you want to read it…

But there is a “real” reason for it, too. Those who shave their heads for St. Baldrick’s are ready to drastically change their appearance—at least for a while—to help the battle against cancer.

What are you willing to commit to? What will move you enough to say, “for this, I will endure some discomfort/pain/sacrifice/risk”?

I know I’m not ready to shave my head quite yet. While I did do the AVON 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer a few years back, I’m not courageous enough to go cue ball like my sister. But understanding what it is that you are willing to “take it all off” for is an important thing to know about yourself, don’t you think?

What will you put yourself on the line for?

If you feel comfortable enough to share in a comment below, please do.

And…way to go, T!

 

All photos are my own or have been used with permission.

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