Not long ago, whenever a coworker, friend, neighbor or family member came to me when they were doing some fund-raising activity, I opened up my checkbook. I ended up with a freezer full of cookies from the Girl Scouts and popcorn from the Boy Scouts. And I have a t-shirt collection from the March of Dimes, American Cancer Society and a host of other charities I’ve supported throughout the years.
But when my job situation changed a couple of years ago, it became harder to open my checkbook. Actually, I could still open it just fine, but the numbers on the left side of the decimal point began shrinking so fast that I needed to do some triage to stay afloat.
I still wanted to do something, but what? That’s when a friend suggested that I put my Italian heritage to use. No, she didn’t suggest I enter a spaghetti eating contest (although, now that I think about it, I wish that had been an option). She suggested that I check out the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that raises money for cancer research for our children, the youngest and often most vulnerable members of our society. Being Italian, I’ve had hair on my head since I was a fetus. So I decided to shave my head to raise money for a great cause.
I didn’t have to look far to find someone whose life had been touched by childhood leukemia. A few years before, a friend of mine lived through the horrors of watching her precious daughter Carly endure the cancer diagnosis, sickness and treatments.
Last year, I raised money and dedicated my efforts to Carly, and I was honored when Carly’s mother and son came to the event to watch and take part with me.
This year, I considered passing on the event. The previous year when I shaved my head, I discovered that my head had experienced some tragic accidents in my youth that made it look like a water-logged, 16-inch softball that had seen too many seasons of play. And since I do some public speaking, I didn’t want people in the audience to see me and think a member of the living dead had stumbled on the stage. So, yeah, I concluded that this year, perhaps I should keep some grass on my less-than-perfect skull.
Then my son lost a 15-year old classmate and friend to leukemia. Taking my son to the two memorial services broke my heart when I considered what the parents of the boy must be feeling. My son decided to raise money for St. Baldrick’s in honor of his friend, and last week he got his head shaved in front of his classmates.
My son’s humility touched me, so I signed up again this year in following his wonderful example. So to those members of the audience who give me a pity look when you see my raw, chaffed and lumpy head, know that this is a gift of love!
Not everyone has the desire or ability to volunteer in this way, the BALD FOR A CAUSE kind of way. I’m not asking for much. If you read this post, would you donate $5 or $10? Even $1 if that’s all you can do. And would you send this link to your friends and family to ask them to do the same?
I can’t offer you cookies or popcorn or a ill-fitting shirt. But here’s my promise: If I raise $1000 by the event on April 16, I will use a picture of my bald, lumpy head as my profile picture of Facebook for a month! A month!
So what do you say? Can you spare a dime? Thanks for your help! If you can donate, please follow me HERE.