Friday, April 12, 2013 was a busy day in Bradford! Students and administration of Fred C. Cook Shaved for the Brave, and then members of the community went to Wendy’s that evening to participate as well!
Dr. Heather Palmer and Jennifer Chown, last year’s organizers, said members of the community approached them to see if they would organize a shave again this year.
“It was exciting to know that our community was interested in it,” said Heather. “We really believe in YACC and we want to share that with our community while raising money to enable more young adults with cancer to benefit from the many programs offered by YACC. Last year we raised enough to help send over 20 people to a Retreat.”
“It is very rewarding to see all the Shavers from both last year and this year really get what we are doing, why we are doing it, and who we are doing it for. A lot of people come up to us and thank us for getting the kids involved in such an exciting event. Even one of our school staff members, a cancer survivor herself, was grateful to learn about YACC and had only wished she had known about them sooner,” said Jen.
Bradford overcame a lot of obstacles to hold the two events. Issues with union negotiations meant teachers were not able to get as involved as they did last year (graduation trips, field trips, extracurricular activities, etc., were all cancelled), and the Head Hunters were not able to speak with the student body as much as they could before. The construction of a new school resulted in a large portion of last year’s Shavers being relocated to a different school. To top it all off, on the day of the Shave, there was a massive ice storm in the area and school buses weren’t even running! Despite all the hurdles, they still Shaved 50 heads (32 at the school, and 18 at Wendy’s) and raised $13,325.75 ($6,785.75 and $6,540, respectively)!
Fred C. Cook
All photos from Fred C. Cook by Val Klic
Peter Laneas, a young adult testicular cancer survivor and YACC Localife leader, MC’d the school event and drove home the message of the event.
“Peter was awesome; he’s living, he’s breathing, he’s the symbolism of the issues for young adults with cancer,” said the Head Hunters. “Because of the size of our gym, we had to shuffle people in and out, we couldn’t fit everybody in at the same time. We had a halfway mark where some of the students left and others came in and Peter had to tell his story again, but he was a great sport and made it sound completely different.”
Last year, to engage those who were not willing to part with their hair, they ran an initiative that encouraged people to cut back on luxuries for a week–whether that was a daily coffee, or corner store snacks–and donate the money they would have spent to the Shave. They raised just under $1,000 through this “cut back challenge,” but it didn’t seem as popular this year.
“Mr. Randy, one teacher of grade one students, noticed his students weren’t really embracing the ‘cut back challenge’ [this year], so he tried to engage them in other ways. He talked a little about YACC and why we were doing the Shave for the Brave, and he said if [the class] could raise $100–which would be about $5 per person from the class–then he’d Shave his head. At the end, they raised almost $300!” said Jen.
They also found other interesting ways to make the event fun and exciting. They provided signs with pictures of haircuts like the “mohawk,” “reverse mohawk,” “mullet,” and “Friar Tuck” that people could choose for the stylist to shape into their hair before going completely bald. That created a lot of excitement for the crowd, and offered great photo opportunities. There was even a surprise Shaver at the school event–Beau Neumeyer, the beloved co-owner of the Bare Beaunz Skateboard Shop!
More photos from Fred C. Cook
All photos from Wendy’s by Jennifer Chown, except as indicated
Heather says they started holding Shaves at Wendy’s because the manager was so enthusiastic and accommodating.
“We went out to businesses in the community last year asking if they had any prizes we could offer up to the Shavers, and the Wendy’s manager was not only interested in making a donation but also said, ‘Why don’t you have part of the Shave here?’ It turns out that they do host fundraisers at their local restaurant somewhat frequently. Generally, what they do is donate a portion of their sales for that evening to the fundraiser,” Jen said.
“The restaurant was full, it was packed, it was energetic, everyone was gung-ho. A big part of that was because we had a group of people coming from Stouffville, a nearby town, who only decided they would Shave their heads that week,” said Heather.
“The group’s ring leader was a woman who was celebrating not only her birthday, but that she was now five years cancer free. To celebrate, she sent an email to her friends and family saying, ‘If I can raise $1,000 in 48 hours, I’ll Shave my head.’
“Then her son, a grade eight student, not only jumped on board to shave with his mother but easily recruited five friends who were very willing to participate. Together, in less than a week, this group raised over $4,000. They were a very strong force and brought a lot of energy to the Wendy’s shave,” she said.
Another woman decided to Shave her beautiful, long hair this year after her son’s participation in 2012. She was able to donate more than 23 inches before the hairstylist took the clippers to her head. There were also appearances by MPP Julia Munro, MP for York-Simcoe Peter Van Loan, Mayor Doug White, and Deputy Mayor Rob Keffer.
Heather said, “Shave 2014 is certainly promising to be even bigger, if the enthusiasm of the Shavers, students, parents, and community is any indication. We have certainly caught everyone’s attention and expect people will be watching out for Shave posters this time next year.”
We can’t wait to see what Bradford comes up with by then!
More photos from Wendy’s
Nancy Brown (by Val Klic)