St. Baldrick’s participant Rachel Boucher shares how she turned one bad hair day into $11,000 for childhood cancer research.
Working with children is my passion. Being around kids makes me calm and inspired. All of my stresses seem to be pushed aside when I look at the world through their eyes.
When the school shooting happened in Newtown, Connecticut, it hit close to home. My mom is a kindergarten teacher, and I thought — this could happen anywhere. Watching the videos and news reports online, I wanted to help those kids so badly and take all the pain away from them.A few days later I was driving in my car, in a horrible mood because I could not stand the look of my hair. I thought – I wish I could just shave it off and not have to deal with it! That’s when the wheels started turning in my head, and I realized…I can. I can do something for kids who are still alive and who still have a chance. Suddenly all of my problems felt like absolute blessings.
Of course, I didn’t really want to shave my head. I was just having a bad hair day. But then I remembered the children with cancer who have no choice but to watch their hair fall out day by day as they are struggling through chemotherapy. If they could do it, I knew I could, too.
So I signed up to shave my head with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The registration process was really easy. I decided to join the “Virtual Event,” which means that I did an event on my own. For my fundraising goal, I challenged myself to raise $5,000 in 30 days.
The first thing I did was tell everyone on Facebook that I was shaving my head to raise money for childhood cancer research, and I posted the link to my fundraising page. Then I told everybody at work. I told all of my friends at school in Tampa. My mom and dad told their coworkers at their work. So many people donated, and lots of people shared my link on Facebook and Twitter.
I was so thankful to see the number of people donating, even if they only gave a few dollars. With gifts from more than 300 people, I raised over $11,000. And donations are still coming in! It showed me how many giving people there are in my community and what a wonderful group of people I have in my life.
Then came the big day. I arrived at the Continental Academie of Hair Design where my best friend, Hailey goes to school. There were 60-70 people there to watch me shave, including two local newspaper reporters, a photographer, my mom, sister, and friends. They all stood there in awe as Hailey shaved my head. The whole experience was extremely emotional. It was such an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and happiness, all wrapped into one.
People talk about things they want to do before they die. For me, I knew there were three things I wanted to do: inspire a child, make a difference, and leave a mark. With St. Baldrick’s, I got to do all three in one day.