As we were waiting to go on stage my nerves started to kick in. For four months I had remained calm and collected about shaving my head. But the last twenty minutes were torture. Hurriedly trying to put my (very thick) hair into 3 ponytails to optimize the amount of hair that could be donated, Erica and I were called on stage.
Erica’s sisters started cutting her hair first. Very quickly, her first ponytail had been cut off completely and I remember a distinct voice in my head that said, “well there is definitely no going back now”
Soon Malcolm started to cut mine as well, and before we knew it, Erica and I were both holding our long locks and staring at each other’s very messy new pixie cuts.
We held hands as our heads were shaved with electric buzzers. From where we sat we could see the faces of a few hundred people watching. Some people were smiling, some were crying, some had a look of horror on their face as two young women got their heads shaved on stage at the BC Cancer Foundation’s Underwear Affair.
Many more started crying when our moms joined us on stage: two beautiful women who have lost their hair in the past because of this awful disease.
A number of people came right up to the stage to give us more donations, over $200 was raised in the 15 minutes it took for us to have our heads shorn.
The experience of having my head shaved is hard to put into words. I am not able to accurately describe the emotions or the energy that was emanating from the crowd. All I can say is that for a number of days whenever my mind went back to that moment, I had tears in my eyes and goose bumps all over my body.
Within minutes of getting off stage Erica and I were bombarded by people congratulating us, wanting pictures, and most importantly—sharing their stories.
All evening we heard the hallowing stories of survivors; of family members, of spouses, of friends who had a loved one fighting, or whose loved ones had lost their battles.
Most poignant for me was a woman who approached me at the Underwear Affair after party. She told me that at 26 years old she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent both chemotherapy and radiation, but said as hard as those two treatments were—they were nothing compared to the trauma of losing her hair.
So many people who approached us praised us for our braveness. Many more thanked us for what we had done.
Erica and I left the after party on an incredible emotional high; two beaming bald girls, proud as can be for what we had achieved, and very thankful for good bone structure and non-lumpy heads.
Erica and I with our hairdressers, as well as our Underwear Affair Coach, Brodie.