Brushing my teeth in a reflective daze, I stare at my shampoo bottle…I won’t miss it. Nor will I miss my brush… bobby pins- none of them. I imagine what it must be like to feel the tickle of the breeze on nothing but delicate fuzz. Towel in hand, I think about how many strokes it would take to dry my head. Staring into the mirror, I try to envision others’ questioning glances. Oh that’s right- I knew… I know. Yet recollection is a mysterious thing. While I can vividly recall my chemo-ridden body reaching for the razor five years ago, the chaotic emotions of the time have instead been replaced with gratitude, excitement- hope.
Who am I to have a choice? They don’t. I didn’t… once upon a time. My own trials through cancer have been glossed over with the faces of kids around the country- of those whose stories I heard while sitting intently at their bedside. Amazement continues to knock on my soul.
There is no choice but to fight- no choice but to bitterly resist the chemo bag hanging beside you, yet surrender to it… place your absolute trust and hope in it. What if… what if you had so much certainty in that little, seemingly harmless, bag that you could let go… trust… know. That you could give in and not face fear of slipping… slipping…. leaving.
This is my desire, and one that the St. Baldrick’s Foundation works towards daily. The number once private funder of childhood cancer research, they hold events worldwide each year. St. Baldrick’s raised $33 million last year; this money provides grants for researchers who are working tirelessly to find less toxic treatments and cures for those children who face, and will face the same beast I did. As my heart overflows with appreciation for my own life, yet sadness that others still fight the battle I know all too well, I find that hope is the path that must be taken.
I have decided to join in St. Baldrick’s mission and participate in an event that is taking place on March 30th, 2013 at Oakland Children’s Hospital. The deal? No more shampoo… no more bobby pins, brushes… or anything of that sort. In an effort to be in solidarity with cancer kids everywhere, to raise awareness, and to raise money to fund research grants, I will be shaving my head…. again.
If I refuse…I lose. It is as simple as that. What is hair, anyway? Something that keeps your head warm- something that gets tied back or covered up on bad days. It can be straightened, gelled, curled, and colored. However, many people don’t realize what else it can do- create awareness, provide greater funds for research, better treatments, and hope for each and every child fighting.
I am just one person, but if everyone allowed that thought to build a wall in front of them, no change would ever happen… no amazing things would take place. And so I choose to do what I can…give what I can in this life that can, at times, tell you to give up- to not give because “it is not enough.” I encourage you to do the same. We never lose by giving… only by passing an opportunity to give our own unique contribution.
For information about St. Baldrick’s and their mission, please visit: http://www.stbaldricks.org
To support my individual participation, my team, and children with cancer everywhere, please visit:
John and Vicki kiss my dome during treatment at Cottage Hospital in March 2008.