Last weekend I participated in Cuts for Cancer, a St. Baldrick's sponsored event in support
of the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation. Cuts for Cancer originally started as an event within the University of Guelph, but now, in its third year, it has expanded out into the community at large. Taking place at the Stone Road Mall in Guelph (March 2-3) and during the Guelph Storm hockey game at the Sleeman Centre (March 4), over $10,000 (so far) was raised by the 52 Shavees to fight childhood cancer here in Canada!!
While I have organized and taken in part in other fundraisiers in the past, having one's head shaved (though I didn't have that much up there to start with...Thanks Mother Nature) in front of family, friends, and/or strangers in public, does make it more personal. My father also had his head shaved back in the mid 1970's to help raise funds to build the new arena/community centre in town, so I guess you could say this type of thing runs in the
I actually stumbled upon this event by accident while on Twitter in January. As you may know, the site often suggests other accounts that are similar to yours. The unique Cuts for Cancer logo (the Gold Childhood Cancer Awareness Ribbon with a pair of scissors over top) caught my eye, and upon further investigation, found out about the Guelph event. Since most of the organized awareness gathering are farther away or difficult to attend, it was
great to find one taking place so close to home.
There was a time when I had a full head of thick hair, but that was (far too many) years ago. Premature male baldness seems to run in my family (with the exception of Uncle Bob of course), so it was only a matter of time before I became Follicially-Challenged! Even when Darrel was losing his hair during his chemo treatments back in Fall 2005, he would make light of the situation, telling me not to worry about it....as HIS would eventually grow back...which
it DID!! With his quick wit, and devillish smile, Darrel could always help to lighten the mood when needed (which unfortunately was quite regularly).
As Friday was the first night of Cuts for Cancer, and my appointment was closer to the beginning, many people shopping at the mall were not overly aware of what was happening though Melody kept them informed over the Loud Speakers). Most spectators were more interested in watching the women participants, with their long hair being carefully removed to be donated for cancer patients wigs, than with myself and the other male shavee at the time
(also named Stephen...which caused some initial confusion), but all that didn't matter. My "extreme haircut" may have been over and done with in a few brief moments, the reason why I, and so many of the others were there will remain with us forever.
Childhood Cancer is, and always has been underfunded in Canada, and even more so in the United States and the UK. Many mainstream cancer organizations call it "rare", but it is not. Once you become an unwilling member of the community, you come in contact with far too many families across the province, country, and world, who have stories that are not too different from your own. The cancers that children face are NOT the same as those adults may have to face, and the research towards finding cures must reflect this uncomfortable
reality! Raising awareness is a key part in altering the government and public's perception
of what is happening to our children, and what needs and must be done to change in the future.
Some Photos available on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150616002122983.396499.594012982&
Special Thanks to:
- All the family, friends, co-workers, and public at large who supported my participation in this year's event. I could not have done it without you.
- Lisa Kellenberger from Cuts for Cancer Guelph and Melody Khodaverdian from
Childhood Cancer Canada for organzing the event, your Retweets on Twitter,
and helping to make everything run as smoothly and successfully as it did!
- Streak for Cancer for partnering with the event by offering colour hair extensions in
support of cancer research in Canada.
Donations are still being accepted until March 31st at:
Next up for Darrel's Playground:
May 26, 2012 - A Celebration in Honour and Memory of Darrel's 12th Birthday
May 26, 2012 - Participating in the 11th Mitchell Fraser Memorial Slo-Pitch Tournament
in Solina, Ontario in support of the James Fund for Neuroblastoma Research at SickKids.
June 15-16, 2012 - Team Darrel will be taking part for the fifth time at the Relay For Life
in Fergus in support of the Canadian Cancer Society.
P.S. Happy 15th Birthday to Darrel's Big Sister Kira today.