YourCause Gives… With Hair

Kylee Daugherty April 27, 2016 About YourCause, Employee Engagement

By the end of Friday, April 15th, nearly 20% of YourCause had lost their hair.

It’s crazy how quickly things can grow.

It all started this January when I had this urge to donate my hair and shave my head. I’d donated my hair four years ago and as someone who has always had long hair, I found the experience incredibly powerful. I kept telling my friends, “IT’S LIKE A CROP ON YOUR HEAD YOU CAN HARVEST FOR GOOD.” Needless to say, I was hooked and entirely planned on donating again.

But all those years ago when I had donated my hair the first time, several of my friends (yes, even girls), had shaved their heads after donating their hair. They did it through an organization called St. Baldrick’s Foundation which raises money for children’s cancer research. It was incredibly inspiring.

If you don’t know this already, as a female, your hair is a precious commodity. I’ll stay away from the whole other blog topic on why that is, but at the end of the day, it’s a big deal. It was amazing to see my friends shave their heads and OWN it. So after some convincing from my husband, I decided to go for it. I would shave my head in April.

Then things got real.

A couple weeks after I resolved to shave my head, one of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer and had to start chemo immediately. Her wedding was still 6 weeks away and she had a head full of beautiful red hair. With 6 months of chemo planned, it was basically inevitable that she would lose her hair and be bald within weeks.

So things felt different.

I struggled because it felt so dumb and trivial to shave my head as a fundraiser and as a metaphor when someone I loved so dearly was suffering from that very thing I was trying to help conquer. I struggled because how could I actively choose to get rid of something that my friend did NOT want to lose and had no choice in? What good does shaving my head do now?

Eventually I realized I had forgotten the reason behind shaving your head for an organization like St. Baldrick’s. It’s not that shaving your head actually does anything to find the cure for cancer, or to even make those diagnosed with cancer “feel better.” It’s to start conversations. When someone looks at me with my close crop, they ask why. This creates the opportunity to discuss cancer research, cancer support, and cancer prevention. My head raises awareness.

So I talked with my friend, made the announcement, and committed to a date.

And then I realized I had forgotten how awesome my coworkers here at YourCause are.

Holding my ponytail.
I donated 19″ of hair!

How YourCause Became Involved

Ashleigh Nicol, an Account Manager, approached me about donating our hair. She’s had some personal run-ins with cancer over the years and wanted to do something. It took about 60 seconds for her to convince me to host an event at the office. We could invite others to donate their hair. People who didn’t want to donate could temporarily dye his or her hair, and EVERYONE would tweet about it, right?

One week later, four of us donated over 50 inches of hair in the office.

A day after that, my fellow Implementation Manager decided to shave his head with St. Baldrick’s and raise money as well.

A day later, our CEO also shaved his head and wanted to get as many guys from the office involved as possible.

Me shaving CEO Matt Combs' head.
Me shaving CEO Matt Combs’ head.

In total, over 10 guys shaved their heads bald. We even had a bonus round with one woman from our Customer Advocacy team shaving the side of her head.

Late spring is my favorite time of year. The earth just starts to feel alive. You can drive home from work with the windows down. Plants are growing. It’s the time when little things start to become big things.

And that’s definitely what happened here at YourCause this April. What started out as a tiny little idea, grew into something powerful and encouraging. Cancer still sucks. That hasn’t changed. But I can tell you that after this event, the people at YourCause have changed. We’ve shared more about how cancer has impacted our lives, how helpless it feels, and therefore, that none of us are alone.