Shaving their heads to show support for children with cancer.
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
On July 25, more than 1,000 members of the public gathered at VivoCity’s Central Court to get a new and “identical” hairdo. The cause was not to make a fashion statement, but to stand in solidarity and support for children in Singapore who are afflicted with cancer. The Guest of Honor at the event was President S.R. Nathan.
Hair for Hope, an idea first conceived by a group of volunteers with Children’s Cancer Foundation in 2003, saw nine volunteers shaving their heads as a symbolic gesture to help create awareness for children’s cancer in its year of inauguration. Seven years on, Hair for Hope 2010 drew a total of 1,100 registrants who signed up for its cause, out of which 243 were women.
By lunchtime, long queues had already gathered, flooding the shopping mall with a sea of blue, the color theme of the event. As a testament of HFH’s overwhelming popularity, the event’s T-shirts [given to every “shavee”] had long run out—all in the four hours since the first shave at 8 a.m. Registrants could get their heads shaved with a minimum donation of S$30, which went toward the cause.
Although the crowd had to wait for an average of three hours to get their heads shaved, time passed quickly, thanks to enthusiastic hosts, including Adrian Pang, Charlyn Lim and Paul Foster, who interviewed some of the shavees on stage. Interviews with former sufferers of children’s cancer also brought much insight into the struggles faced by these children and their family members. The crowd was inspired by the testimonies of how many of them managed to move on and live their lives to the fullest.
The process of getting one’s head shaved was quick and painless. Shavees sat down with a polyester sheet draped over their torso, seconds before the clipper landed on their scalps. In a matter of minutes, the job was done.
Those who stepped forward to shave their heads for the cause, did so, knowing that their head would be full of hair again in no time. However, for many of the children who are currently suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, their hair loss, which is one of the side-effects of chemotherapy, may be permanent. Through the movement, HFH seeks to boost the self-esteem of the children as they see that people are willing to identify with them in their ordeal by going bald.
While medical advancements have increased the chances of almost full recovery, the battle in the minds of these children is fought and won through the moral and emotional support of loved ones and society. With this in mind, HFH aims to show children with cancer, and their families, that they are not alone in their fight against their illnesses.
Besides the event held on Sunday, HFH will also be making its rounds to schools and organizations to create public awareness of childhood cancer.
For those who missed the nation-wide event on July 25, you can still play your part! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to have them come down to your school or workplace.