01 October 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In July 2000, I attended a business conference in Las Vegas, there were over 12,000 people in attendance. There was a presentation of a check to the American Cancer Society. At the beginning of this presentation, the speaker had everyone stand that had cancer themselves. Then added those who knew someone with cancer and by the time it was all said and done, there were very few people not standing. One of these was a women in our group. She was so touched by this demonstration, she chose to quit smoking. I have no idea where this person is now, but her experience at that moment of being surrounded by standing people has never left me, in fact, I've shared it on my blog before! My point is, that most everyone knows someone who has cancer! So, to change directions, a little, what is the craziest thing you have ever done for someone? Especially someone who has cancer? Here is my story and blessing:

I always joked around about shaving my head because I would get tired of dealing with longer hair, but was never serious about it, at all. Then in 2011, enter a great friend of mine chose to shave her head to honor her mom, who, at that time, was dying of cancer. You can read about that here! Unfortunately, her mom lost her battle a very short time afterward. When my friend made this choice, it was about time for me to do my donation to Locks of Love, again! I've done it every 2 years or so since about 1999ish. So, again, I very jokingly told my husband I was going to shave my head like our friend and, this time, he simply looked at me and said, OK! I was floored, so I quickly thought about it and chose to go ahead and get my head shaved! It really was an easy choice! So, on 25 Mar 2011, I got my head shaved!
 
These pics were taken, in order, 25 Mar 2011....4 May 2011...3 Jul 2011...I show this to show the progression of hair growth. Everyone says my hairs grows fast, it sure doesn't feel like it!

Ok, back to the story...Now, I have to say, I was sad to hear that my friend had some not so positive reactions from people she came across soon after she shaved her head. I found this to be very sad yet motivating, how dare anyone judge her or mistreat for such a choice! My husband and I talked about this and the morning I was to go get my head shaved, I confirmed with him that he really was ok with my choice. His response was just to say that it was ok, if I was ok with people staring at me. My response to that was that I'm fat, people stare at me ALL THE TIME! So, I guess, in a way, shaving my head, was more than just to support her, it was to tell the world, here I am, I dare you to mess with me! Ok, maybe not, but I am happy to report, most everyone was pleasant and concerned, even strangers, most everyone just wanted to be assured that I wasn't sick myself! Of course, most of them gasped first and I did have a few people, mostly those that know me well, just laugh, my brother included. He would laugh and shake his head, then rub my head, then laugh...over and over again...I snapped this pic while he was staring and laughing, wish I could have gotten some of the initial gasping looks, there were some great ones:
One thing to keep in mind, I guess, for some, is the timing of when you choose to shave your head. I did so just before we had a cold snap in weather, so I was grateful that another friend had some years before made me this hat:
Ok, warp two years and it is time to cut my hair again for Locks of Love and I have chosen to shave my head once again! This time it's a little different, I am not necessarily doing it to prove anything to the world. I am making this choice to honor all who have survived cancer and the many, many in my life at that very moment who were, and, some who still are, battling cancer! Most of these 20+ friends and family have breast cancer, and some are now done with treatment and some even in remission! Many are still in the fight for their lives!
So, on 1 Apr 2013, I had my head shaved again...the pics below are from 1 Apr 2013, 21 Jun 2013, today, 01 Oct 2013...I'm told my hair grows fast, I'm still not convinced!
So...again, the response from those in my life, many of which were not around for the experience two years ago, was that of concern. Then, when assured that I was not the one that was sick but that I was doing this to honor all my friends and family that were suffering, were very supportive! Here it is six months later and some still tell me what a wonderful thing they think I did...when, in reality, it was nothing! I have the choice, at any time, to shave my head or not, so many out there fighting this battle do not have that choice! (yes, some make the choice to shave before having no choice but to lose their hair...amazing people!) It is to all of these wonderfully strong souls that I dedicate my efforts and support!

To all my friends and family out there fighting the battle and ugliness that is cancer, I think about you each and every day! I pray for you and I cheer your progress and successes! I mourn the setbacks, as well...but I honor you for your strength and example! Thank you and God bless each and every one you great ones! Thank you, Twizzz, for inspiring me in the first place! HUGS to you all....

SIDENOTE:
For anyone reading this post, if you should choose to have your hair cut for Locks of Love, go here for the rules, but the main one is that it must be at least 10 inches for the donation and just an FYI, Great Clips offers free hair cuts for those donating and they will even mail the hair in for you. Just go to the Locks of Love website to print and fill out the form to take with you for them, even if you are going to mail it in yourself. If your local Great Clips says they don't do that, they should, why wouldn't they want that good karma and such...but, if they refuse, find one that will do it and let corporate office know about the ones that won't, maybe they can 'encourage' them to get on board!
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