The event had a completely different feel to it than the others I had previously attended. Both the times I went in Guelph, they were held near the Food Court of the Stone Road Mall, which was less personal, but attracted more foot traffic, while in Kitchener, we were at the Firkin at The Tannery right downtown. They had a section of the Pub set aside for us, so we were separate, yet others that had not previously registered were also welcome to join in. Because of this, I got to talk more to the other Shavees, even though I was meeting them all for the first time...nobody really felt like a stranger. Adding also to the Shave, was the fact that the following day was St. Patrick's Day, so there was more of a theme tie-in. St. Baldrick's are held all through the year across North America, but it was nice to finally be at one so close to March 17th.
Before the Shaving segment began, I was called up to receive the St. Baldrick's Honoured Child Medal on Darrel's behalf. After first taking in 2012, I had set up a page for Darrel on the St. Baldrick's website, and he has been honoured by many people at other events over the past 3 years, but this time he had been chosen as the Local Child to be recognized. Unfortunately, there are far too many other children, even in our area, that have/are battling some form of childhood cancer, so to have him singled out was not necessarily a simple choice to make. I am thankful that I was able to attend, and appreciate those who made to decision to include in my son as part of the ceremony.
The Shave itself, didn't take very long, as there really wasn't much up there to begin with. Even though Darrel has been gone for over 7 years now, being involved in events such as this, along with supporting childhood cancer awareness on the internet, re-enforce how proud I am of him, and of course, how much I miss him every day. Doing what I can to assist other children and their families that are at some point on a similar journey helps me keep my thoughts of Darrel more alive in the present than doing nothing at all.
What I was not expecting, was to be called up again to be inducted into the League of Legendary Heroes as a "Squire of Hope". I did not know that St. Baldrick's had it's own titles and hierarchy for years of volunteer service to the organization...but they do. The Squire designation comes after 3 years participating, followed by Knight of the Bald Table (7 years), Knight Commander (10 years), and Crusader for a Cure (15 years). I look forward to attaining these other levels of service in the future.
I came back to Fergus with a shiny new bald head, a couple of awards, and a warm heart knowing that I had helped to make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer. Thanks for your support everyone.
Darrel's Page: http://www.stbaldricks.org/kids/darrelr
For those still wishing to Donate: https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/kirladar15