*note, I will be cross posting this across all of my blogs.
I just made a decision this morning. It’s a pretty big decision, I think it might be a pretty radical decision. And I’m going to need your support, friends, fatties and other readers.
Many of you know how vocal I am about my dislike for a lot of the marketing that goes with cancer campaigns, and a lot of the silly memes that pop up on Facebook and Twitter and the like. I find it offensive that breast cancer is objectified with all of those “Save the Ta Tas” and “Feel Your Boobies” kind of campaigns, the bucket loads of ridiculous pink schlock you can buy to supposedly raise money. I loathe that breast cancer is glamourised over any other kind of cancer, just because it’s to do with tits, which are deemed public property by our culture.
Cancer is not sexy, ever. Nor is it a game or a meme, or some pretty merchandise.
It’s devastating, frightening and rage inspiring. I have lost dear friends to cancer. I would give all the pink crap in the world back to have them here with us. I have other friends who have battled cancer and survived. I wish that they never had to bear the burdens that they have had to bear.
I want to do something that really does help, and the only thing I can see to do that will really make a difference is to pump as much money into cancer research as possible. For ALL cancer types, not just the ones that are seen as glamorous and sexy.
So… I want to put my money where my mouth is. Only I don’t have much money. So I’m going to put my hair where my mouth is, and ask you folk to help me with the money.
I have decided that on January 26th (Australia Day) I am going to shave my head. I’m going to do something that really frightens me, and challenges me and I’m asking all of you, to help me reach a fund raising goal of AU$1000 for the Australian Cancer Council in doing so. It would be great if we could raise more than a grand, but let’s start there.
I have chosen the Australian Cancer Council for two reasons. One, they cover all forms of cancer, not just one or two. And secondly because my home country of Australia has some of the leading cancer research in the world. In fact, we have some of the leading medical research in the world. The vaccine for HPV, which is what causes most cervical cancer, was developed right here in my home city of Brisbane.
When I say shave my head, I mean all the way. No hair, bald as an egg, right down to the skin with a razor. Surely that’s worth a thousand bucks right?
I’ll be honest, it scares the shit out of me. I have been thinking about shaving my head as a bit of an act of defiance against the notion that my femininity is tied up in my long hair, but when I really thought about it, that wasn’t enough. I want to do something to challenge myself into really pushing my boundaries to raise awareness and money for cancer research, because just playing some silly meme on Facebook is not enough.
For women, long hair is a symbol of femininity. I’ve clung to that symbol because being a fat woman robs me of my femininity (add to that the fact that I also have PCOS, which also robs women of their femininity). My hair has been long (about down to my bra-strap, give or take a couple of inches) now for about 6 or 7 years, and as many of you know, I dye it hot pink these days. Pink is no accident – it’s another symbol of femininity . Of course, long hair and pink are both completely arbitrary symbols of femininity, they’re no more feminine than short hair or the colour blue, but you all know how hard it is to resist cultural norms right?
Cancer robs men and women of so many things. Their independence, their health, their social lives, their savings/income, their friendships, their enjoyment of things in life, and ultimately for some, it robs them of their lives.
The least I can do is give up my hair for awhile.
I’ve chosen Australia Day so that a) it will be a public holiday and locals can come along to a head shaving party to encourage me (*cough* push me *cough*) into following through with it. The weather should be warm on my bare head, and it’s the beginning of my vacation, so I have time to organise an event and follow up with the fund raising afterwards. I have already asked my friends Nadia and Kylie to be the hairdressers on the day, and I’d like to organise a picnic lunch or something for people to come along to.
But for now, I’m asking all of you to help. Help me get to $1000, shave my head and let’s make a difference. I’ve made a donate button and posted it below, and on the right of the page, but it’s not showing up yet. I’ll keep working on getting it visible!
I’ve set up a project account there in my name (Codename: Operation Baldy!) to stash any funds raised until the end of the project and I can donate it to the Australian Cancer Council.
Anything you can donate is welcome. A dollar. Five dollars. A hundred dollars! Anything is welcome, as it all adds up. We have just over two months to get to this goal of $1000, and I am SURE we can do it. Hey, you’re not even the ones losing your hair!!
Update: let’s try this link:
What a great idea. I’m looking forward to coming up to BrisVegas for the ceremony, and donating once you’ve sorted it out. What if other people also want to shave their heads?
Just wondering why the donations are in US dollars? Is that just a weird PayPal thing?
I set them that way. I figure locals will probably pay their donations directly to me, but the majority of people who wish to pay via paypal will be my friends in the US.
This is an amazing idea & I wish you all the best! I couldn’t even imagine have the guts to do this, but then, people with cancer don’t have a choice about hair loss. I don’t have much money, but I hope to donate a little every now and then when I can.
Ohhh! And yours came as I was typing that Natalie! Thank you!
I just got my first donation!! $30 from someone called Jo!
Love that you’re doing this Kath, every time I hear of someone shaving their head for charity I wonder for a moment if it might be something I would or could do. So far the answer appears to be no!
It seems silly to erode my donation with paypal and currency conversion fees, can I send it to you via direct deposit or cheque perhaps?
Not a problem at all Mim – I plan to offer alternatives for “locals” as well, cos it’s silly for us to use Paypal when we can do so without converting $$.
We’re on FB together, I’ll contact you over there to set something up.
You’re one brave lady. Have you seen http://www.everydayhero.com.au/ ? That might be an easier way to manage donations. I know two people who have used it with great results. Not sure about any fees or whatever.
Not brave at all Sassy! Shitting myself to be honest, but people are being so awesome that how can I not just jump in?
Thanks for the everyday hero thing, I’ll investigate.
good for you and good luck with this! I shaved my head several years ago for no particular reason, and want to reassure you that it will be fine – and the feeling of a bald head is so awesome. It’s like you discover nerve endings you didn’t know existed. When a slight wind blows, the sun shines, you take a shower and feel the water run over your naked head, even the softness/roughness of your pillowcase–the feeling is incredible.
best of luck to you!
Thanks Cindy. I never thought of it like that, and now I’m really looking forward to finding out what my scalp can feel when it’s all naked!
I’m sorry if I downplayed your fear of doing this – I think when hair means what it does to you, it makes this action incredibly brave and meaningful. And thank you on behalf of all of my relatives who have died of cancer. I didn’t realize Australia was on the cutting edge so yay!, the money is going to an excellent place, and you ROCK!
Not at all Cindy, it just gives me another aspect to work through the willies I’ve got about going through with it!
And yes, Australia really is at the forefront of a lot of medical science across a lot of fields. Synthetic, spray on skin for burn victims was invented right here in Australia! As was the cochlear implant, the pacemaker, physiotherapy, lithium for bipolar disorder, the first frozen embryo baby, and the humidicrib among others.
Awesome. If I can I’ll donate ASAP. I feel like you….as a fatty with PCOS I feel my femininity lies in my hair. It was long for many a yr then I went the “Dawn French” bob with thick fringe and that seemed to define me as well. It’s so shallow but I need long hair again and I am growing it. I feel as if it’s the only thing I can control. Stupid. I applaud your decision to donate to the CC. Your reasoning is well thought out and I agree. As I always say to convince myself “It’s only hair”… Life matters more.
Thanks Annie. I’ll keep things running right up until Australia day, so if you can contribute any time between now and then, it would be most appreciated.
I know what you mean about feeling that your hair is the only thing you can control. Mind you, I can’t even control mine, it’s pretty bloody wild!
What an awesome idea! I only wish I had more to contribute. Best of luck reaching the goal. I’ll try to donate again next paycheck too!
Every penny is working towards the goal hon! I just saw your contribution come through, thank you so much!
You are awesome! I’ll definitely contribute! Don’t worry, it grows back faster than you think–I shaved mine a number of years ago (not to contribute anything to society as you are doing, but simply to anger my Mom because that’s what 14 year olds do). One line of advice–PUT SUNSCREEN ON YOUR SCALP once it’s bald. It probably has never seen the sun like it will when you are bald, and dang, a sunburnt head HURTS!
My hair grows like a monkey’s butt, I cut two inches off it every 6 weeks just to keep it fairly tame. I’m interested in seeing how curly it grows back, because as I get older it tries very hard to be curlier and curlier.
And yes, I live in the skin cancer capital of the world, slip, slop, slap (slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat) is something I’m well versed in.
Just donated. Do we get a running total at all?
Thank you so much!
As I mentioned in the post I’m working on a ticker for the blog, and as soon as I find one that will work with my WordPress, I’ll upload it.
But the current total in 24 hours is $240!!