Something BIG just happened in my life.
On February 16, I shaved my head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, in order to promote solidarity between kids with cancer and people without, to raise money for a cure, and to be a “walking billboard” for the cause!
This isn’t just any kind of fundraiser. This is me asking for any donation you may be able to give, to help save a kid’s LIFE. To help find a cure for an ugly disease that doesn’t have the right to take as many people as it does.
Why did I do this? I did it for my grandma, my best friend’s mom, and two good friends – Bree, who lost her battle with Wilm’s tumor at 13, and Gray who beat teratoma testicular cancer at 15. Gray and I have been friends since we were 5 years old. He’s a varsity athlete in three sports, and no one ever expected it. The fact that this hit so close to home made finding a cure for childhood cancer something I am really passionate about.
I spent months talking to family and friends, searching inside myself, and spending a lot of time checking out the St. Baldrick’s Foundation website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and finally made up my mind: this was something I wanted to do! I stumbled across a video about Justin Miller one day, and it just hit me how REAL pediatric cancer is. I felt like I was connected with this little boy and something NEEDED to be done for him. I was so beyond inspired by his incredible strength and determination to get through anything. It blew me away how unbelievably happy he was despite the cancer and the almost never ending chemo treatments!
Although Justin will probably never know it, he changed my life. He made me realize how lucky I am just to be alive, let alone completely healthy.
He made me want to do something BIG. And I knew it was worth losing my hair to help kids like Bree, Gray, and Justin. No kid, NONE, deserves to go through something that awful. (I just saw a few days ago that Justin’s cancer is back for the 6th time… I’m even more motivated now.)I shaved at my church and was so lucky to be surrounded by people from all parts of my life – family, friends, pastors, teammates, kids from my youth group, and one of my favorite teachers. It’s safe to say, before my shave I was FREAKING out. My long and wavy red hair has always been my staple, and pretty much what everyone knew me by. All 18 inches were about to be cut off, and honestly, I was terrified. But after prayer and encouragement from a lovely friend, I knew I was ready.
The shave was amazing. There were plenty of tears, from everyone, but tons of smiles, hugs, laughter, and great memories.When Bree’s family came and told me how proud she would be of me, the tears came. But I knew more than ever that I had made the right choice. My shave was definitely an amazing experience, and I felt the best I have in a long time. I have absolutely NO regrets.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me how amazing I am, but I don’t think so. I’m just a normal, awkward teenage girl trying to make a difference – trying to show people that not every part of this world is ugly.