FIRST PERSON: A GOOD HAIR DAY
I’m having a bad hair day. Actually, it’s more like a bad hair year.
When I had a baby, I expected the dirty diapers and sleepless nights. However, nobody prepares you for certain things and hair troubles were one of those unexpected side effects. When my son was about four months old, my hair started falling out. Blond hairs could be found everywhere, and this process was expedited by my baby, whose fingers were often full of the hairs he had extracted. My thick head of hair was thinning before my eyes.
A Google search revealed that this hair loss was normal, and that it would grow back. Much to my relief, a few months later, it did stop, and I thought my troubles were over. At the present moment, those hairs are growing back. However, they have not returned as the same length of the rest of my hair, as I had foolishly hoped. Instead, those regrown hairs are now two-inch long wisps, many of which frame my face, giving me makeshift bangs that look like a child took scissors to my hair.
Adding to my woes, I haven’t had a hair appointment in six months. My dark roots are exposing my dark secret: that my sun-streaked hair is actually manmade. I already pay too much to cut and highlight my hair and paying a babysitter to watch my child while I get my hair done just hasn’t been in the books.
Of course, fresh perspective is always good and the BaseBald event at Boshamer Stadium last week gave me just that. Following the Georgia Tech game on Saturday, the Diamond Heels teamed up with St. Baldrick’s Foundation to host a fundraising event to benefit the pediatric oncology unit at the Lineberger Cancer Center.
Prior to the event, I watched the game with Bobby Frasor. He had been asked to participate, but was nervous and wasn’t so sure if he’d be able to pull off the bald look. During the game, Bobby stepped out of the sun, fearing the contrast between his white scalp and tanned face. He had held out hope that the razor would have a guard on it so he’d have a little something left on his head. Perhaps he had a premonition that UAB’s SID would call him the next day to ask him if he could get his headshot taken for the media guide. He asked if he could get that pushed back a bit. Of course, there were no regrets for Bobby, especially after seeing the other brave souls who answered the call.
Before the Diamond Heels took the field to shave their heads, other volunteers came forward. The first was the Nicholson family of five. Cole, who is now five and cancer-free, was diagnosed with leukemia just before his second birthday. His mother, Emily, held one of her young sons in her lap while he was shaved, and murmurs spread through the crowd that the whole family was to be shaved. Sure enough, the mother of three proudly smiled as the shears came close to her head.
Her family’s fundraising “team” was suitably named “Bald is Beautiful” and that day in Bosh, it certainly was. Following her haircut, Emily bore striking resemblance to Demi Moore in “G.I. Jane,” only she didn’t get paid for losing her locks. Instead she sacrificed her hair in efforts to raise money and raise support for childhood cancer.
Emily wasn’t the only brave woman. After taking her turn in the chair, one young woman raised her long blond braid up in triumph. Several other female volunteers bravely sat in the barber’s chair, including a 10-year-old girl, who gained my respect immediately.
Each person who participated in the event that day showed bravery, but the women and girls who signed up to shave their heads made the biggest impact on me. Those ladies showed courage, and the girls and boys who they were representing are forced to be even more courageous, some no older than my son, who is the reason we’re talking about my hair in the first place.
Cancer is a reality to many parents and if losing some hair helps find a cure for someone’s son or daughter, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Mike Fox, his team, and other volunteers stepped up to the plate.
That’s worth a bad hair day, any day.