Roswell Park Alliance Foundation staff and Bald for Bucks advocate
When I first started working at the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, I knew what most people did about Bald for Bucks — you shave your head to support cancer patients. Simple, right? What I didn’t know was that this was just one small piece of a much larger and more important mission. Bald for Bucks isn’t just about shaving your head. It’s about so much more.
My first week on the job, I ventured to Nichols School for one of the first school-based events of 2022. We filed into the library alongside students and teachers — the atmosphere alive with excitement. Long tables lined the walls, and a large screen hung at the front of the room, faces of students bobbing in and out of the squares that checkered the vinyl. At the center of the room, light filtering through the windows upon them, were rows of chairs with barber capes draped over them. Behind the chairs, a handful of volunteer stylists prepared their stations as the first round of students took their seats facing their peers. Some students looked excited, some seemed nervous and others held a perfect poker face. Moments later, hair hit the floor.
As the event continued, the participants got younger and younger, until the smallest group of students approached the staging area. One student stood out. No more than seven, her hair reached just past her shoulders, bright pink inching at the edges. She sat excitedly, saying little but looking ready and determined. Much to my surprise, the barber behind her took out the electric shaver, not the scissors. I watched as her hair fell, leaving a freshly buzzed head behind. When it was done, the little girl ran her hand over her scalp and let out a squeal of delight.
What It's Really About
I later spoke with that little girl and her family and asked how she felt about the big change. Was she nervous to be completely bald? Why had she decided to shave it all off? What was it like? Her answers were simple: No, she was not afraid to be bald. She knew she was making a difference and that’s what mattered. The rest was just hair.
It dawned on me then that Bald for Bucks isn’t just about shaving your head for cancer research; it is about taking a stand for cancer patients by standing out.