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Bald, bold and beautiful

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St. Baldrick’s event was about more than just shaving my head

By Stevie Lowery

“When you’re a bald woman, you’ve broken the code. You’re different. You’re a rebel, and you always command the attention of the room. Some of them might be staring for the wrong reasons… But hey, at least they’re looking. And let’s be honest: They wish they were as cool as you. It’s fine. Not all of us can be superheroes.”

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- Nico Lang, Thought Catalog producer

My head is bare, but my heart is full.
I made good on my promise Saturday and got my head shaved at Citizen National Bank’s St. Baldrick’s event.
It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. It comes in third, behind having my son, Owen, and running the Chicago Marathon.
But, I’m not just referring to what I experienced on Saturday at the St. Baldrick’s event in Lebanon. I’m talking about everything I’ve experienced throughout the past several months.
I have experienced the pure kindness of the human spirit. (Yes, I’m getting deep. Sorry, I can’t help it.) I’ve witnessed, firsthand, how giving and supportive people – even complete strangers - can be.
It’s been a humbling experience. And I’m so grateful.
My son, Owen, and I raised more than $15,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and we both shared an incredible experience Saturday as we took the clippers to each other’s heads. It was surreal. It’s a moment I will never forget. And knowing the funds we raised will be used for children’s cancer research makes us both very proud. We have been able to do something very tangible to help those precious children, and it’s worth every strand of hair, I can assure you.
On that note, ladies, let me just say… being bald ain’t half bad!
I was told that having my head shaved would feel liberating, and that’s true. But, what has surprised me is how comfortable I feel without my hair. I worried I would feel self-conscious. My big, curly hair has always been my trademark, and I didn’t know how I would react without it. But, what I’ve learned is that my hair doesn’t define me. My heart does. I understand that now.
I feel honored to join the “bald club” and have a better understanding of what some of my friends have gone through during cancer treatment. Losing one’s hair can be a traumatic experience, especially for women. But, to me, I see it as a badge of honor. I was truly touched to have my friend and cancer survivor Nicole Cambron Thompson shave my head at Saturday’s event. Not long ago she lost her hair while undergoing cancer treatments, but she was as beautiful as ever. She’s one of many women I know who have fought this evil disease. I have an immense amount of respect for all of them.
But, the children who are fighting this disease, they are the true heroes.
How dare a disease try to rob them of their childhood. It’s a harsh reality, but thanks to charitable organizations, such as the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, millions of dollars are being invested in research to conquer childhood cancer. In the eight years Citizens National Bank has sponsored the local event, more than $200,000 has been raised locally to fight children’s cancer. That is incredible, and I have to believe that a cure will be discovered one day. But, until then, we must continue supporting these children and their families. According to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, more children are lost to cancer in the U.S. than any other disease - more than many other childhood diseases combined. Before they turn 20, approximately one in 300 boys and one in 333 girls will have cancer. Worldwide, a child is diagnosed every three minutes. So, three minutes after you read this, a child will be diagnosed with cancer, and another family will be faced with the terrifying reality of possibly losing their son or daughter. Can you help? Let me answer that for you, yes you can. I encourage you to do something – big or small - today to make a difference and help these amazing children.