Girls take a lot of pride in (and spent a lot of money on) their hair. Coloring, highlights, blowouts, Keratin treatments, extensions, fancy products, expensive straighteners, clip-on bangs (ahem, Kim K.), the list goes on and on. Many girls claim hair to be their best features and what makes them feel pretty and feminine when they’re sans makeup and wearing zit cream and sweats. And I’m no exception to the rule–hello, I recently had a panic attack because I thought my shampoo was making my locks limp (#firstworldproblems). So imagine someone taking a razor to your head and saying sayonara to the mane you work so hard to maintain. The HORROR! I mean…we could hardly watch when Anne Hathaway got chopped in Les Mis!

NOW imagine a girl with long, gorgeous tresses doing that…voluntarily. That’s right, my new (Internet) friend and inspiration Kathleen Ritzel Lloyd (you can call her Katie) is going under the knife, er, razor in support of St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research and treatment for the painfully sad problem of childhood cancer. Here’s Katie (and her hair):
kathleen 1I mean…wow.

In case you’re not familiar with St. Baldrick’s: “It began as a head-shaving event and continues to be the signature event of the Foundation. ‘Shavees’ ask friends and family to make donations ‘on their head’ and in return, they attend one of thousands of volunteer-organized events around the world where they have their heads shaved in solidarity with kids fighting cancer.”

So what prompted this long-haired lovely to lose it all for the cause? Honestly, I think she says it best (of course, I had to interject my commentary in italics).

From Katie:
So here is the long and short of it. (Nice pun, girl). I have been working with this charity for seven years as a barber (read: she does the shaving). This year will be my eighth as a barber and first as a shavee and team captain. The night of the event is so electric, and everyone is donating and shaming men into shaving that I have always wanted to be a part of it… but it would be stupid to shave and not have funds behind it (good point)St. Baldrick's 2011 at Ri Ra Irish Pub.  Photo by Sean C. Means

This year, my hometown was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. In Atlanta, I sat and watched on TV while my friends and family evacuated and waited. I felt helpless, and for the first time, realized that life can change in an instant. I felt like I needed to help and didn’t know how. Then, I read about a little boy named Danny. Danny is from the town next door to where I grew up. (Click here to read about Danny, who coincidentally resides close to where I grew up, too). That’s when it started to come together for me. I thought about it, but was still vain and loved my hair too much (we love your hair, too). At the same time, a new trend started on facebook. People posting pictures of sick children with “CLICK LIKE IF YOU WISH CANCER DIDN’T EXIST.” This made me think, NO! Don’t click like! Get off Facebook! Log on to stjude.org and donate, or just get off your computer, donate your time, run a 5k, DO something. (PREACH!) Clicking like will not do anything! The more I researched St. Baldrick’s, the more I realized how sick and horrible it is to post a picture of a child suffering with cancer. Just to see how many likes you can get? (AMEN! DISLIKE.) A lot of the children on St. Baldrick’s page have “Angel” next to their names because they did not survive.

Then I thought, I’m no better than any of these people sending these photos viral because I’m not doing anything to help, and then I signed up. Since I have signed up, people will try to talk me out of it…because of their own fears or insecurities. I had a girl ask me this week if I was scared, and I said no, because I have been thinking about what it will be like (I think most people will assume that I am sick). And she scoffed at my reaction and said, “I’d be scared if I was you!”  And I replied, “As scared as you would be if you had cancer?” And she didn’t like that. (I bet she didn’t.) Some people say they’d do it…if they knew someone with cancer. The truth is, if you know someone who has had a family or friend with cancer, then they are also affected. That’s why finding better treatments is so important. Me losing my hair is nothing compared to what those kids and families go through. It’s just hair. It’ll grow back.

                                                                               ***

Powerful stuff, huh? I fully support the stance on simply DOing SOMEthing for a cause you believe in. And no, she’s not saying everyone needs to run out and shave their heads next week. And I’m not going to lie to you guys and say I’m considering shaving my head (although after a few Irish car bombs, you never know…). But I think she, and everyone else that participates in St. Baldrick’s and ANY worthy cause, is inspiring and working toward positive change. Katie’s goal is $5,000 and as of posting time, she’s at $3,345, so if you’re digging her awesome story and want to donate, click on over to ShaveKatie.org. As for the actual shaving, it’s going down at Ri Ra Irish Pub on Thursday, March 14 beginning at 6 p.m. (When I know the exact time of Katie’s shaving, I’ll update this post.)

I’ll be there getting buzzed…just in a different way. Car bombs for everyone! And as for you, Cancer: Go f*ck yourself.

LYLAS,
Ashley