When Courtney Leavitt, my stylist, asked me if I was ready, I have to admit that I panicked. Yes, “The First Cut is the Deepest” was playing soothingly off of Courtney’s laptop. Yes, I had a beautiful view of downtown Phoenix. Yes, I was in great, experienced, fabulous hands. But I still had to ask myself, Do I really want to donate my hair?
In that moment, I thought about the significance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and my commitment to donating to the cause annually. I remembered my grandmother who endured a double mastectomy and my best friend’s mother who succumbed to breast cancer last year. I thought about the devastating and unfortunate fact that I, or someone close to me, could be diagnosed with breast cancer in the future. In that moment, I knew that what I was doing was right.
So on October 2, I took the plunge and donated 10 inches of my hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. The program provides real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks. The wigs are then distributed to women battling cancer across the country.
And we made sure to document it for YouTube infamy. Check out the video!
Over the past five years or so, I’ve made a promise to myself that whenever October rolls around, I will do three things: 1) look for the perfect Halloween costume (done – hipster Snow White!); 2) start my Christmas shopping (God, I love Amazon); and 3) find some way to donate my time, money, and energy toward the fight to end breast cancer.
In the past, I’ve raised funds to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I’ve also volunteered to work overnight security at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day–where feisty girls, walkie talkies, and an endless supply of Diet Coke collided. It was an entertaining night!
I’ve donated strawberry champagne cupcakes to Don’t Be a Chump, Check for a Lump’s annual Wig Out event and Pink It Up!, Finding Joy Photography’s breast cancer event where women were invited to take pictures against pink backdrops and share their stories of struggle and survival. At that event, I volunteered to pose for the company’s “Self examination saves lives” campaign. And I did so topless to really make a statement. Tamra Wade, thank you for including me; that was a powerful event!
Last year, I sang “Baby, I’m a Fool” and “I Touch Myself” in Jenn Williams’ Burlesque for Boobies show. This year, I hosted the event. Combining the totals of both years, we raised nearly $1,400, all of which went toward Jenn’s fundraising goals for her participation in the 3-Day.
So, the question this year was, Damn, what the hell should I do this year to contribute?
2011 and 2012 have been chock full of change for me – positive, drastic, take no prisoners change. And since I also harbor a flair for the dramatic, I decided it was about time to cut the cord and cut my hair for a good cause.
You know, it’s funny, the relationship that women develop with their hair. It’s a superficial thing, but we grow extremely attached to it and it becomes a representation of our femininity.
I haven’t had short hair in about 13 years and when I decided to donate, I vacillated back and forth between feeling completely elated and completely terrified. Yes, it’s a wonderful cause, but what if I look terrible with short hair? What if everyone I meet applauds what I did, but then pats me on the back and says, “Don’t worry, it’ll grow back”? What if I’m like Stella and I temporarily misplace my groove, my mojo, my sex appeal?
Here’s the thing—my hair will grow back. Other women who are battling cancer may not be so lucky. So, October 2 wasn’t a day to think about myself and my personal vanity—it was a day to think about a woman I’ll never meet who will wear my hair and have the opportunity to look in the mirror and feel beautiful again.
Today, I have no regrets, because I know that my donation is making a difference in someone else’s life.