I'm Shaving My Head

I'm Shaving My Head

Because parents should be planning birthday parties for their children, not funerals.
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Every three minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer. One in five children diagnosed with cancer in the US and Canada will not survive. For those who do, they still have much to overcome. Two out of three survivors live with chronic health problems that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

It doesn’t have to be this way; we all have the power to change these statistics. Every day, there are scientists working hard to find cures and ways of early detection and prevention.

The St. Baldrick’s foundation raises money by shaving people’s heads and invests it in the most promising childhood cancer research. I’ve decided to take part in an event coming up on April 3 to get my head shaved. I couldn’t be more excited!

While my family has been fortunate enough not to have any children diagnosed with cancer, we have still all been affected.

During my time in high school, five of my peers were diagnosed with cancer. It was heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time. I couldn’t believe that kids my age would be fighting for their lives. They were young adults; they weren’t supposed to be focused on anything besides living a normal teenage life. But cancer doesn’t care about that. It was an unreal experience watching my school community, usually very divided, come together to raise money and show support to the students and families affected. Unfortunately, not all five of my peers who were diagnosed survived. A family very close to my heart lost a son, a brother, a grandson.

This is for him and his family. This is for all the children that I’ve worked with as a music therapy student who have lost the fight for their lives. This is for all the children still fighting or who have overcome the cancer demon. This is for all the children in the future who will be diagnosed. And this is for the day when we don’t have to be scared of the word cancer anymore, because we will have found cures and preventative measures.

We will only overcome childhood cancer if we work together.

Only four percent of federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research. There is a huge funding gap between childhood cancer research and adult cancer research. More adults than children are diagnosed with cancer. However, the average age of cancer diagnosis for adults is 67. For kids? It’s six.

At six years old, kids should be learning how to spell the word hospital, not spending the majority of their time in one. Cancer is scary at any age, but at the age of six, when you are learning about compound words and addition, it’s terrifying.

We can make cancer a less scary word if we all work together. It’s tough donating money or hair, shaving your head, or even bringing awareness to this topic. Childhood cancer is hard to talk about, but we need to do it. We need to do what we can so that children don’t have to fight for their lives. We should do what we can so that children and young adults don’t have to worry about the time spent in a hospital instead of school, or any of the other horrible things that come with a cancer diagnosis. We should do what we can because it’s the right thing to do.

So I’m shaving my head, have donated money, and am raising awareness about the need for funding i childhood cancer research.

What will you do?

Please take a moment to check out my participant page and consider donating to this cause.

Cover Image Credit: Cancer Institute NSW

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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