Recently, my gal pal Ann Marie exemplified true inspiration by participating in a St. Baldrick’s Event (as well as donating her hair to be made into a wig for someone who can’t grow new hair due to chemotherapy). The purpose of these events is to raise money for childhood cancer research and (equally as important) raise awareness about the reality of childhood cancer. Obviously this is an extraordinary cause, but it is also an extraordinary act of kindness from the group of participants.
Each participant shaves his or her head in exchange for money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. They might even shave their beards or eyebrows, but at a cost! I was first introduced to St. Baldrick’s last year when my friend shaved his head. Sean did it for the third time this year. (Almost $10,000 was raised between Ann Marie and Sean alone this year!) This is a fundraiser and awarenessraiser that leaves lasting impressions on the shavees, the crowd, and even strangers alike!
This brings me to my point of this post. I couldn’t help but imagine it would be quite a shock to have hair today and be bald tomorrow!
Or for one person, thanks to Ann Marie, be bald today and have hair tomorrow. Her hair is going to be made into a wig!
I interviewed Ann Marie to find out more about the daily life of a bald woman!
Why St. Baldrick’s?
A student of mine got involved last year, and it inspired the adults and students in our school. It is incredible event. Survivors and parents of children with cancer also support St. Baldrick’s, and I won’t argue with that!
Did it tickle?
Not in the ha-ha-ha-please-stop-oh-no! sense, but it did feel really great! One of the best feelings ever, actually!
What were your thoughts when you first looked in the mirror?
That’s me! and…I look JUST like my little brother, John Paul.
How much free time does your new haircut provide and what are you doing with it?
It actually frees up a lot of my time. Consider how long it takes you to wash your mane, brush, dry, fix, and maintain. I would say that it saves me at least an hour a day, if not more, and I was pretty low maintenance. How many times do you have to sweep your bangs to the side, or fix a ponytail? In my case, it was never once. Currently, I spend most of that time trying to pick out an outfit that does not make me look like a boy, but I am figuring that out, and will soon focus on my current research interest, why Archie and Betty never worked out.
Any surprises you were not prepared for?
I was not prepared for how much I love it, and how open people are with me about their experiences with cancer (friends and strangers). Actually, people open up to me much more than before, which is really interesting.
Do you experience heightened somatosensory on your cranial region? Lol-yes? The first time that I put on a hat, my body totally rejected that feeling of hat against my buzzed hair, it made me feel really sick instantly. Regulating my body temperature is very different now, and that really makes me feel for those who are undergoing chemotherapy. My body gets cold in a very deep way now, but they are also fighting so much on top of that. Moments of realization like that deepen my appreciation for everyone who supported me financially, mentally, and emotionally in St. Baldrick’s because it all goes to finding a cure.
What have been the reactions to your bald head from your friends, family, co-workers, students, and most curious of all – strangers?
Everyone is awesome and supportive!! Most people say that they couldn’t do it because they have a weirdly shaped head. That makes me smile, because that really doesn’t matter, what matters is spreading awareness and raising funds…and how would you know your head shape until you get a really close look at it? Strangers open up and share personal stories of how their lives have been affected by cancer. My favorite response from strangers has been from the older gentleman out there who have said in passing, “It’s time for a haircut, young lady!” as they smile and walk by.
What’s next for your hair? Do you plan to grow out your ‘do or keep it short?
Great question! I have no clue. Now that I have almost three weeks of growth, I miss the buzz and feel like I have a full head of hair! It will be short for a while, and I want to play with colors. I am curious to see if it will grow back with my natural curl, or if it is different. I do like knowing that I can shave it at any time, and be super happy about it. If anybody has an idea for a cute style, holler at me!