SHAVE FOR THE BRAVE

Our 15,000th Shaver is Brave!

December 8, 2017 by admin

Photos provided by Alyssa Dickey

Shave milestones tend to come with AMAZING stories. Our last milestone Shaver was Tyler Hayley, a recurring Shaver who started shaving with his school when he was in KinderStart. Not only is he a great kid, his fourth Shave—our 10,000th—was on his birthday!

On December 9, 2017 Alyssa Dickey, our 15,000th Shaver, will face the roar of the razor, and we couldn’t be more honoured to recognize her as we hit this latest milestone. Shave for the Brave was created for young adults like her.

Alyssa was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 32 and attended her first Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) event, Retreat Yourself, in 2012. She has been to Survivor Conference multiple times, and is a member of YACC’s digital network.

“After my diagnosis, I felt so different from everyone else. You’re so isolated; you go to the cancer clinic and everyone thinks your mom is the patient,” Alyssa said.

She first heard about YACC through a Google search, and initially thought she would never be the kind of person who would go to a retreat and sit in a circle to talk about cancer. After creeping on the website for a while, she saw Retreat Yourself was being offered in Alberta, somewhere she hadn’t been. She gave it a shot and says she immediately felt like she found a community of people whose lives were just like hers.

We have gotten to know Alyssa and her husband, Garrett, an engaged member of our supporter network, over the last five years. YACC has been there through it all, including celebrating when they welcomed their first child, Elliot, in 2015.

Alyssa has established herself as a rock for other young adults living with, through, and beyond cancer. She is calm and level-headed, engaged, and a real leader in the YACC community, posting updates and offering encouragement through YACC’s private Facebook groups, and finding opportunities to meet up between official events.

“When I send out updates about my Shave, I always ask people how many 20- or 30-year-olds do they know with cancer. For many, it’s one, and it’s me. I tell them my answer was the same before I met YACC,” she said.

Alyssa’s cancer recurred earlier this year, eight years after her initial diagnosis, and she is getting chemotherapy in preparation for a stem cell transplant in early 2018. The last few months have added stress around test results and heavy side effects from chemo, but this champ is still looking out for her friends in the YACC community through it all. Alyssa chose to donate her hair through Shave for the Brave before her hair falls out from chemo once again, raising money to support the programs she attends through YACC, and helping to make a wig through Continental Hair’s Wigs for Kids program.

Alyssa says she and Garrett actively choose to “live as fully as we can. I wanted to turn losing my hair into something positive instead of having it fall out in clumps like before.”

“Every cancer, every stage, YACC’s got their backs. Alyssa and Garrett have lived this reality for the five years they have been in YACC’s network. We can only have their backs because so many others have ours. It’s extra powerful when a YACCer like Alyssa steps up to help their peers in this way,” said Geoff Eaton, executive director.

Alyssa says one of her biggest challenges after cancer was going back to work. When she was diagnosed the first time, it was after she had gone back to school and graduated at 31, worked hard, got promoted, and was really happy with her position. When she was ready to go back after treatment, her current job wasn’t available. She had to go back to an old position, losing the salary and perks that came along with it.

This also put her back on the interview circuit where she struggled with deciding how much to disclose about cancer, when to share it, and whom to share it with. She didn’t feel her brain had gotten back up to speed yet, and life after cancer comes with conditions, such as regular appointments.

“There’s no book on who to tell and who not to tell, but you don’t want to be discriminated against,” she said. “I don’t identify as being a sick person; that’s just one part of my life.”

YACC’s digital, local, and national programs give young adults diagnosed with cancer a place and a community to navigate unique challenges like going back to work after a lengthy medical absence, figuring out the next steps after treatment, and facing a relapse.

Eaton called Alyssa a few days before her Shave to let her know she can expect a one-of-a-kind 15,000th Shaver toque.

“It was a cool story to begin with, but it becomes extra powerful when you recognize you’re taking control of cancer and the Shave is one of the ways you’re doing it,” he told her.

“That’s a good way of looking at it. I was just looking at it as something to raise some money [for YACC] and it wasn’t going to be a big deal for me because I was going to have to lose it anyway,” Alyssa said. “I’m not used to having the attention on me. I’m used to giving back. I was flattered to hear that it’s a big deal for YACC. You like to think you’re having a small impact, but it’s all part of a big effort.”

She is Shaving at Raphael Hair Designers in York, ON with her son, Elliot. At just two-and-a-half, the toddler can’t really understand his mother’s diagnosis, but he does know she goes to the hospital for medicine. Alyssa hopes including him in her haircut will help ease the transition from her having long hair to having no hair after her transplant.

We think it’s really cool that he gets to be play a part in this amazing story, and to share a piece of the 15,000th Shaver milestone, but we’re not surprised Alyssa intends to share the spotlight.

High fives to Alyssa, Garrett, Elliot, and the 14,999 Shavers who came before her. You’re changing lives of young adults dealing with cancer in Canada, and we hope you truly feel how grateful we are for your help.

UPDATE: Alyssa is officially our 15,000th Shaver! Thank you to Kara Peseski for these pics!

Gratitude — we’ve got it bad!

October 23, 2017 by admin

Thank you to everyone in Simcoe County who took time to meet with Geoff and hear how your efforts have helped young adults cope with cancer over the last few months. Tonia, Cindy, Allison, and your awesome teams and schools — thank you!

Every cancer, every stage, YACC’s got their backs, but we couldn’t do that if you didn’t have ours.

We’ll see the rest of you soon!

We hope you had a fantastic summer filled with loads of happy new memories. You earned it after all the great work you did for young adults diagnosed with cancer during the 2017 Shave for the Brave!

Thanks to you, we were able to change the lives of over 130 young adults affected by cancer over the last few months through our Survivor Conference, Retreat Yourself BC, and Retreat Yourself Adventure (which is happening right now)!

Now that you’re rested and adjusted to your fall schedules, we wanted to remind you that it’s never too early to sign up to Shave for the Brave in 2018. In fact, one school already has its eye on a May 2018 date!

Get in touch with us at info@shaveforthebrave.ca if you’re ready to sign up to change more lives this year, or if you have any questions. We’re always happy to chat!

Thanks again, and always…
Live life. Love life.

Geoff Eaton
Executive director

High five to YACCers Keri Kuhn and Nadia Hillier, their ten Shavers, and everyone who came out to volunteer or support the Dartmouth Community Shave for the Brave on June 10! Your efforts raised over $4,700 to help fund programs to help young adults like Keri and Nadia live and love life after a cancer diagnosis.

Adam Howe and Charlotte Sider Shaved for the Brave on May 30, 2017! Adam earned his fourth yellow toque while first-time Shaver Charlotte donated over 11 inches of her hair. This dynamic duo raised over $2,100 together!

Special thank you to Angie Hart (of Angie’s Hair with Hart), for donating her time, tools, and talent; and to Lori Howe for bringing it all together.

Photo: Julie Michaud

On May 28, 2017 Archer Michaud and friends raised over $4,300 with their Shave for the Brave in Fall River, NS!

The second grader is a repeat Shaver, and was inspired to host this event in support of his mom, Julie, who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer a couple of years ago after dealing with breast cancer when he was a baby. Julie has been a part of the YACC family since 2011, and Archer wanted to support the organization that has helped his mom cope with cancer.

So many virtual high fives going out to that young man! Thank you to everyone who signed up to Shave with Archer, donated to the event, and helped spread the word. Your actions change lives.

 

From around the web:

Cancer fighters appreciate funding from Fall River event” (The Chronicle Herald)

Raising money for Shave for the Brave” (The Laker)

 

Shave sponsor Public Service Credit Union (PSCU) offered to match Snook’s Shave donations up to $5,000! The day after he Shaved at the Brave Brunch, they presented the cheque!

Thank you for continuing to find fun and engaging ways to support young adults affected by cancer!

Brunch never looked so brave

May 30, 2017 by admin

Executive chef Peter Wedgwood, Brian Cuff of Whitecap International Seafood Exporters, MP Nick Whalen, Karl Smith of Fortis, and Snook put their heads on the line in front of a sold out room at the first annual Shave for the Brave Brunch at YellowBelly Brewery on Sunday, May 28. The event raised $163,000—including over $111,000 raised by Smith.

The Brave Brunch was an event for the St. John’s community to come out and cheer on their friends as they got the most powerful haircut of their lives in support of young adults living with, through, and beyond cancer. YACC’s mission is to support young adults as they move through and beyond cancer. To be the connection to peers, bridge out of isolation, and source of inspiration. Any cancer, any stage, YACC’s got their back.

Special thank yous to the Shavers, Heather Hunt and her team of volunteers from RBC for setting up the room, Fogtown Barber & Shop, Bernice from the Head Room, auctioneer Wayne Bartlett, YellowBelly Brewery, our Brave Brunch committee and sponsors, and everyone who donated or came out in support of this event!

Shave sponsor the Public Service Credit Union offered to match Snook’s Shave donations up to $5,000! Yesterday, they presented the cheque!

 

Visit Shave for the Brave on Facebook for more photos!

 

Thank you to our Brave Brunch sponsors!

Staff and students of Gander Collegiate gathered in the school’s gym for their first Shave for the Brave on May 26. Five Shavers took to the stage to shed their locks in support of Young Adult Cancer Canada.

Teacher Anushya Somers not only raised over $4,600, but also shaved in support of her husband who is currently battling cancer. Another teacher, Andrew Hicks, also got in on the action and shaved his head and beard for the first time in 12 years! Together the five shavers raised over $6,400.

Huge thank you to Head Hunters Amanda Kennedy and Laura Curtis for organizing the Shave, and to Mr. Drover and all the staff and students at Gander Collegiate for being so engaged and supportive. Thank you to Nakita from the Lucky 7 Barber and Beauty Salon for volunteering your time and skills.

On May 26, 2017, Smallwood Academy in Gambo, NL hosted its fourth Shave for the Brave. Parents, teachers, and students gathered in the school gym to cheer on and support the 15 shavers who took to the stage.

Before the razors started to roar, the choir and school band performed, followed by the school’s dance team—we loved it! The energy remained high as Shavers took to the stage to shed their locks.

Together the Shavers raised over $2,000! This puts their four-year total at 109 heads shaved and over $14,000 raised for young adults dealing with cancer. Awesome!

Huge thank you to Joanne Broders, teacher and Head Hunter for another amazing Shave, and to all the parents, students, and staff at Smallwood Academy for the continued support!

View the Archives