Hair for Hope and Beautiful Lengths

Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.

June 4th, 2013. It was our first major event as a council, but perhaps represented much more. Hair for Hope is a tradition in our school – an amazing cause that never fails to raise donations and hope to those suffering from cancer. This year, however, our council decided to hold Beautiful Lengths concurrently with Hair for Hope as a way for girls to contribute (well, the vast majority of us wouldn’t have the courage to shave). Each of the 40 or so participants cut off 8 inches and we packaged it and sent it off to Pantene Beautiful Lengths in the US to make wigs for those suffering from the side effects of chemotherapy.

Perhaps I never realized the vast amount of planning needed to arrange an event like this; the amount of hours I spent logging in all the details and arranging everything completely threw me off guard with the immensity of the time commitment. And that was nothing in comparison to all the time and effort Ally (our service secretary) put in – I know I’ve thanked her numerous times throughout the last few weeks, but she really deserves all the praise in the world for her dedication, her commitment, and her immense heart. From the little ‘Good luck and thanks for helping!’ messages as the back of the placards she handed me to use, to the plethora of meticulous ‘to-do’ lists she passed on to each of us – I realized just how amazing and capable she is. Truly. It’s a blessing to have worked with her, and a pleasure to help her in any way I could.

A month of preparation culminated in one day.

The day itself was a tremendous success – Dr. William Tan’s guest speech at lunch was an incredibly inspiring talk; his perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity is admirable, and his humility even in his belief in the power of the dream, his power and success – was truly humbling. A quirky, jolly and independent man of sorts with a polite, quiet demeanor – he was an absolute inspiration to everyone who met him.

Following the talk was the last minute preparation for the event before the crowds started pouring in. The sheer number of people crowding around the registration table angling to pass me their donation cards was absolutely overwhelming. Once it all died down, however, I just sat at the booth, overwhelmed with joy at the large crowd of cheering students that packed into every nook and cranny of the glass hall to  support their friends that were shaving. The spirit and joy was almost tangible in the air – I couldn’t stop smiling. I was so proud – so proud of Ally, so proud of our council, and so proud of everyone in our school who turned up to support a wonderful cause. More than 100 students and teachers shaved that night, and  over $30 000 (with more rolling in!) was raised for the Children’s Cancer Foundation.

I’d been so busy over the last few weeks I barely had the time to think about the locks I was chopping off, but losing 0.5 kg of my hair was much less of a big deal than you’d think. There was a time when cutting off 8 inches would’ve been devastating, but with everything that’s been happening, the length of my hair became rather insignificant. In the face of greater things, trivial worries about appearance seem to lose its significance. I just felt tremendously privileged at that point in time to be able to do my part in helping those who are less fortunate – after all 8 inches meant next to nothing to me, but meant the world to another.

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.

These little moments fill me with an indescribable joy; a pride and firm belief for the students in our school.

Real generosity towards the future? That, lies in giving all to the present.

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